How do police decide if you’re drunk?

Police officers in Missouri and most other states are trained in DWI detection methods based on standards created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal government agency that helps reduce accidents and fatalities on the nation’s highways.

The NHTSA guidlines break DWI detection down into 3 phases, before the driver pulls over, when the officer makes first personal contact, and when the officer gives the field sobriety tests.

• Phase 1

The first phase involves the officer observing the driver and vehicle in motion before being pulled over. The NHTSA mandates that officers should consider such factors as the driver weaving in his or her lane, failing to pull over in a timely manner, or slumping over the steering wheel when deciding whether or not someone might be intoxicated.

• Phase 2

The second phase involves the officer makig personal contact with the alleged intoxicated driver. The NHTSA guidlines state that the officer should observe the suspect as he or she gets out of the car, and considers factors such as odor (alcohol, breath mints, tobacco, marijuana), stability (i.e., leaning on the car, falling over, etc.), and ability to follow directions. Many people are surprised to find that officers are specifically trained to observe the ‘cover up’ odors of breath mints or gum and use them as evidence that someone is intoxicated.

• Phase 3

The third phase involves the standardized field sobriety tests such as the Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test.

If you get arrested for Driving While Intoxicated in Missouri you need an attorney to fight for your rights. If you or someone you know is arrested please contact Joe Welch immediately for a free and confidential consultation.