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Texas DWI/DUI: What Do Police Officers Look For?

From missing taillights to speeding, law enforcement officers will look for any reason to legally pull over a driver so that they can further examine them for signs of impairment –check out our recent post explaining pretextual police DWI stops in Texas for more information on that. Today, we’re bringing you lists of the very symptoms that police officers look for in deciding whether or not a person is probably intoxicated, both before and after pulling them over.

WHAT DO POLICE OFFICERS LOOK FOR WHEN SEARCHING FOR DWI DRIVERS?

Research by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates the there is a long list of symptoms that will give away a person who is probably driving while intoxicated. Here, we’ve listed them for you in order of most obvious to least obvious indicators of probable drunk driving:

  1. Turning with wide radius
  2. Straddling center of lane marker
  3. Appearing to be “drunk” (for example, by sitting up very close to the windshield)
  4. Almost striking object or vehicle
  5. Weaving
  6. Driving on other than designated roadway
  7. Swerving
  8. Speed more than 10 mph below speed limit
  9. Stopping without cause in Traffic lane
  10. Following too closely
  11. Drifting
  12. Tires on Center or Lane marker
  13. Braking Erratically
  14. Driving into Opposing or Crossing Traffic
  15. Signaling Inconsistent with driving actions
  16. Slow response to traffic signals
  17. Stopping inappropriately (other than in a lane)
  18. Turning abruptly or illegally
  19. Accelerating or Decelerating Rapidly
  20. Headlights off

Interestingly enough, speeding has not been identified by the NHTSA as a symptom of intoxication. While prosecutors will often argue that speeding is “risk taking” behavior brought upon by impaired judgment, most police officers will admit that, in reality, almost all sober people speed at night when traffic conditions are favorable. As a matter of fact, speeding may be a symptom of sobriety as it requires quicker judgment and faster reflexes.

WHAT DO POLICE OFFICERS LOOK FOR AFTER PULLING SOMEBODY OVER?

You should remember that police officers are not medically trained and that you are not legally required to take any field sobriety tests. The notoriously inaccurate field sobriety tests can only help the arresting officer build a case against you, so you should politely refuse them on all accounts. The following are common, traditional symptoms of intoxication that police officers are taught to look for from the second they pull you over:

  1. Flushed face
  2. Red, watery, glassy or bloodshot eyes
  3. Odor of alcohol on breath
  4. Slurred Speech
  5. Fumbling with wallet while trying to get license
  6. Failure to comprehend officer’s questions
  7. Unsteady feet while exiting vehicle
  8. Swaying/instable while standing
  9. Leaning on car for support
  10. Combative, argumentative or jovial or other “inappropriate” attitude
  11. Disheveled clothing
  12. Stumbling while walking
  13. Lack of awareness in regards to time and place
  14. Inability to follow police instructions

If you’ve been charged with DWI in Texas, you need the expertise of defense attorneys who are specifically specialized in the complex field of drunk driving. An experienced attorney can review your case for defects, suppress evidence, and use any number of other defense strategies unique to DWI law. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at The Kyle Law Firm today for a free consultation on your DWI case.

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