Failing to use a turn signal or swerving slightly over the white line can give a police officer enough reason to initiate a traffic stop. But after a couple drinks with friends, a minor traffic violation can sometimes lead to field sobriety tests.
Let’s look at some of the factors that police officers use when making an arrest for OVI (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence) or DUI (Driving Under the Influence):
- 1. The time and day of the stop. Were you stopped late Friday or Saturday night, as opposed to a Tuesday morning?
- 2. The location of the stop. Was it around establishments selling alcohol?
- 3. Any sign of erratic driving before the stop that may indicate a lack of coordination. Did the offer witness you speeding, weaving, etc.?
- 4. Whether there is a clear report that the driver may be intoxicated. Did a witness report you as being an intoxicated driver?
- 5. The condition of the suspect’s eyes. Are they bloodshot, glassy, glazed, etc.?
- 6. Impairments of the suspect’s ability to speak. Was your speech slurred or overly deliberate?
- 7. The odor of alcohol coming from the interior of the car, or, more significantly, on the suspect’s person or breath. Did the officer indicate they smelled an odor of alcohol coming from you or inside the vehicle?
- 8. The intensity of that odor, as described by the officer. This could include “very strong,” “strong,” “moderate,” “slight,” etc.
- 9. The suspect’s demeanor. Did you act belligerent or uncooperative?
- 10. Any actions by the suspect after the stop that might indicate a lack of coordination. Did you drop your keys, fall over, or fumble for your wallet or paperwork?
- 11. The suspect’s admission of alcohol consumption, the number of drinks had, and the amount of time in which they were consumed. Did you admit to consuming alcohol and, if so, how much?
Contact Our Firm If You've Been Arrested for OVI or DUI
While the above-mentioned factors are not necessarily required for an OVI or DUI arrest, they aid officers in determining a suspect’s level of impairment. Additionally, while these clues may not be verbalized by the officer, be sure to obtain a copy of your BMV2255 and/or the police report to review which factors the prosecutor will attempt to use in court. Fortunately, Attorney Hartwig handles OVI cases in Northeast Ohio and DUI cases in the Beaver, Lawrence, and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania, and is trained in analyzing the above-factors on how they may hurt, or help, your case.
As always, we urge everyone to drink responsibly, but if you or someone your know is facing an OVI or DUI charge in OH or PA, submit a contact form on our website or call our office at (330) 899-4446 to see how we can help!