Criminal Defense in Orange County

Signs of Alcohol Intoxication That Officers Look For

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; call today.