It may surprise you, but you are creating evidence for the police from the moment they first see you until you are out of their custody. To prosecute you for DUI, the police often need to prove that your blood alcohol level was above a certain limit, often 0.08%. Police will use the following things against you:
Observations. Your driving clues are most important.The NHTSA manual gives specific clues as to how you are driving. The first clue is how you maintain your lane position. Are you weaving, swerving, straddling? Second is speed and braking. Are you rapidly breaking or accelerating for no reason, driving more then 10 miles under the speed limit, jerking or suddenly stopping? Third is your vigilance. Are you driving the wrong way, failing to respond to traffic signals, driving without headlights? Fourth, and finally, is your judgment. Are you driving off the roadway, turning in an unsafe manner, exhibiting road rage or otherwise being inappropriate to others?
In addition to your driving clues, the officer will observe you during your contact on the roadside. The officer will note if you say you’ve been drinking or at a drinking establishment, if you are slurring your words, if you are quick or slow to produce required documents, if you smell like alcohol, or if you are using the vehicle for balance. The officer will rarely note the things you do well, only those you do poorly.
Field Sobriety Test. If you think you did well on the field sobriety test, you are probably wrong because you are graded on things you aren’t aware of. Injury, age, weight, medical conditions, and other factors can have a huge impact on the results of the field sobriety tests. Yet, we are all graded on the same scale.
A popular test is the “pen test.” Here, an officer holds a pen for your eyes to follow and notes how your eyes react to the movement. If your eyes stagger, rather than smoothly moving from one end to the other, then you will fail that part of the test. Some medical conditions cause this type of staggering even when not impaired. But, again, the officer will not note the things you do well, only those you do poorly.
Breath Tests. As the name implies, the breath test measures the alcohol in your breath to determine the level of alcohol in your blood. Many assumptions are used to reach the conclusion of your blood alcohol level. Needing to use these assumptions makes the breath test far less reliable than an actual blood test. Portable breath tests are often inadmissible at trial. But, most stationary machines are admissible. A Columbus DUI attorney may make a motion to exclude the breath test from evidence.
Urine Tests. Yes, urine tests can be used to test your blood alcohol level. These tests look at your body’s waste to determine the level of alcohol in your blood. They are quite unreliable and not often used.
Blood Test. Do you know the best way to measure the alcohol in somebody’s blood? Simply measure the alcohol in their blood! Blood tests, when done properly, are the most accurate way to determine a person’s blood alcohol volume. Despite their accuracy, blood tests are not often used.
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Written by Lawyer I Trust staff attorneys. This is not legal advice. You should seek the advice of counsel before acting or not acting based on anything you read in this article.
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