Most people are aware of the dangers of drunk driving but never consider that when you operate a vehicle you are actually providing law enforcement with implied consent. This issue is at the heart of most DUI arrests, the legality of the stop, and the testing that follows those stops. Being arrested for driving under the influence can mean the loss of driving privileges, jail time, and exorbitant financial obligations. The way the stop and the testing were carried out must abide by strict regulations, so read on to learn more about consent to be tested for the presence of alcohol.
From the very beginning of your interactions with law enforcement, every facet must be "by the book". The police cannot just turn on the blue lights and pull you over because they were curious about you; what is known as probable cause must exist. They must have a strong suspicion that there will be cause to arrest you. Not only should there be probable cause to stop you on the road, they must then have probable cause to conduct testing.
In most cases, the signs of substance impairment are familiar to most and particularly to patrol officers. There are several main indicators of impairment that could call for further evaluation.
1. Driving behavior: People who've ingested alcohol may drive far too slow in an effort to avoid making mistakes. They may idle too long at stop signs and red lights, fail to stay in one lane, drive off the road and overcorrect, etc.
2. Behavior: Once stopped, the officers look for things like slurred speech, odors of alcohol, open containers of alcohol, reddened noses and eyes, extreme nervousness and more.
3. Driving violations: Sometimes it is the driving itself that leads to the stop where the discovery of impairment is secondary. This can occur with the disobedience of traffic laws and with accidents
The question of being too intoxicated to drive is based on numbers, and as long as you are old enough to drink, those numbers can either get you arrested or have you calling for a ride home. If you are below age, a test of any amount of alcohol can get you arrested or ticketed for underage drinking, even if you were not behind the wheel. In most cases, alcohol testing can consist of a breathalyzer, field sobriety testing, blood tests and urine tests.
Whether or not you can refuse testing can vary from state to state, and you might lose your driving privileges if you refuse to undergo alcohol testing. It can be surprisingly expensive to get these privileges reinstated, and the length of the suspension might be more than that of being convicted of having a DUI. This can be a difficult matter, and if you have had your license suspended or you've been wrongly arrested for a DUI, you will need the help of an attorney who practices criminal defense law.