Often when police are patrolling at night, they are on the lookout for individuals who are driving while impaired. If they see someone who is driving erratically, they might pull that person over, in order to talk to them and further gauge impairment. Fredericksburg DUI stops are often the first step in a DUI case. If you want to know more about DUI offenses and what to expect from a DUI case, speak with a knowledgeable DUI attorney that could pursue a positive outcome for you.
Before stopping someone for a DUI charge, officers tend to look for erratic driving behavior, swerving, driving too fast or too slowly, being unable to stay in the correct lane, driving the wrong way on the road, or drivers who seem uncertain of where they are supposed to turn. Officers are usually more suspicious of people driving at night. Once the bars close at night and people are driving home, is when officers tend to be the most suspicious of possible DUI behavior.
Typically, when an officer stops someone for DUI, they have observed something that would give them some indication that the individual is intoxicated. If they have not seen that, they may develop a suspicion once they approach the individual’s vehicle. At this point, an officer will make observations about the person, their appearance, whether they have an odor of alcohol on their person or in the vehicle, and whether there are any containers in the vehicle. The officer will generally ask an individual to exit the car and to perform a field sobriety test.
During Fredericksburg DUI stops, an officer will generally ask where a person is going, where they are coming from, how much they have had to drink, when the last time they had a drink was, and any other questions that will help them gather evidence against a person for a DUI. That is why it is never a good idea to answer any questions of any police officer. Their job is to gather evidence against a person, not to help the person. Following their questioning, they might ask an individual to take a field sobriety test.
During field sobriety tests, officers observe an individual’s ability to follow directions, their balance and coordination, and their linguistic ability. All field sobriety tests in Northern Virginia are standardized. Officers tend to ask an individual to perform a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which requires a person to follow a pinpoint or a flashlight to see how the eyes respond. They will also ask an individual to do a one-leg stand test, and the walk and turn test, to test balance and coordination. The alphabet test is used to test their ability to follow instructions as well as some linguistic ability. All of those are designed to elicit some evidence that an individual is intoxicated, which is why it is not a good idea to help the officer and give them evidence. It is not a good idea to do those kinds of tests.
If an individual complies with those tests, often the officer will ask an individual to take a preliminary breath test there on the side of the road to give the officer a preliminary idea of their blood alcohol content. Once the officer has gathered that evidence, if they are satisfied that this evidence rises to the level of probable cause for an arrest, they will arrest the individual and take them to the station to offer an actual breathalyzer test or blood test. If an individual wants to know more about what to expect during Fredericksburg DUI stops, they should speak with a knowledgeable DUI attorney that could answer their questions.
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