When a driver is pulled over on suspicion of
drunk driving, the law enforcement officer will try to confirm that suspicion by looking
for physical signs of intoxication before resorting to any chemical testing.
If you are fighting DUI charges, your attorney will ask if the officer
made his arrest mainly because of these signs. If this is the case, your
lawyer must evaluate the accuracy of these signs.
One of the first signs of intoxication that an officer will check for is
the smell of alcohol on the driver's breath. However, the accuracy
of this sign has been called into question by scientific evidence. In
one study, twenty law enforcement officers were asked to smell the breaths
of fourteen volunteers with varying
blood alcohol levels. Using 6-inch tubes, the officers smelled the breaths of the volunteers
who were hidden behind screens for anonymity. The officers participating
failed to identify both the beverage type and the level of intoxication
of the volunteers.
Another common sign of intoxication that officers look for are red or watery
eyes. The main problem with this is that there are common legitimate medical
reasons why red or watery eyes might occur, even in sober people. These
alternative causes include irritation (from wind or dust), physical fatigue,
or even emotional state (such as from crying). If you have been charged
with a DUI in Orange County, get a criminal defense attorney who is familiar
with these potential weaknesses in the state's case. Initial consultations
with Barney Gibbs are free;