What do police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers on the Highways?

The following is a list of symptoms in descending order of probability that the person observed is driving while intoxicated. The list is from research conducted by the National Highway Traffic And Safety Administration:

  • Turning with a wide radius
  • Straddling center of lane marker
  • “Appearing to be drunk”
  • Almost striking object or vehicle
  • Weaving
  • Driving on other than designated highway
  • Swerving
  • Speed more than 10 mph below limit
  • Stopping without cause in traffic lane
  • Following too closely
  • Drifting
  • Tires on center or lane marker
  • Braking erratically
  • Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
  • Signaling inconsistent with driving actions
  • Slow response to traffic signals
  • Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane)
  • Turning abruptly or illegally
  • Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
  • Headlights off/ interior lights on

Speeding, incidentally, is not a symptom of DUI; because of quicker judgment and reflexes, it may indicate sobriety.

If you are stopped in New York State by the police, and you are impaired/intoxicated by alcohol or drugs… you should:

  • Invoke your right to remain silent – do not answer any questions other than ID!
  • Refuse to perform any “Field Sobriety Tests”*
  • Do not let an officer “check your eyes” or do an “eye test”
  • Demand an immediate phone call to your attorney
  • Submit to a breath, blood, or urine test pursuant to Implied Consent Laws**
  • Be aware that refusing to allow an officer to administer a preliminary breath test (the handlheld Alco-Sensor) at the site of the car stop is a violation of vehicle and traffic law
  • Demand to be released for an Independent Blood Test
  • Above all else- Don’t Trust the Police!
  • If arrested do not fill out any forms except other than property receipt
  • Do not answer questions regarding diet, or current medications or origin/destination

Always be polite and produce your license/registration insurance documents upon request.

This page has general recommendations and cannot be construed to be legal advice. Each situation has its own set of facts and circumstances . Please call our office and consult with an attorney.

Toll free 800-HaroldDee (800-427-6533)

* Refusal to perform field sobriety tests is not a traffic violation and all things considered is the better alternative. Only you know if you have consumed alcohol and whether you may be impaired or intoxicated.

** This is a difficult question to answer, conviction for a refusal is a minimum twelve (12) months revocation of all driving privileges. Reinstatement requires payment of a seven hundred fifty ($750.00) dollar civil penalty. Certainly, if there is a vehicular homicide or serious physical injury (blood) or if one has a prior DWI/DWAI/DUI history, I would suggest not giving a Breath/Blood/Urine sample. You in effect would be a witness against yourself. A refusal is admissible at any trial of the matter.

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