Beverly Hills Symptoms Of Intoxication
As part of the Beverly Hills DUI Process, an officer from the Beverly Hills Police Department or a deputy from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will study the suspect driver for any obvious symptoms of intoxication. If the officer notices any of these and has a reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired, he or she would have grounds to remove the driver from their vehicle and have them complete various field sobriety tests. The presence of symptoms of intoxication may be one of the first indications that a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
There is no definitive list regarding which "symptoms of intoxication" are valid and may be evaluated by officers. In fact, many of the conditions listed by officers in their incident reports may be the result of numerous other factors completely unrelated to drug or alcohol intoxication. In addition, many officers making DUI stops are conditioned to look for certain indicators of impairment and may be biased in their evaluations.
Many of the incident reports submitted by officers or deputies include preprinted boxes listing various symptoms of intoxication, and the reporting officer need only check the applicable boxes. Very often, an officer will simply check all boxes listed without an explanation. As a result, many people facing charges of DUI in Beverly Hills are surprised when they view their arrest reports and completely disagree with the physical descriptions as written.
The following is a list of symptoms of intoxication frequently cited by law enforcement in Beverly Hills:
- Odor of Alcohol – Officers will take notice of any smell of alcohol emitting from a driver they stop. While this can certainly be an indication that the driver was drinking, it is not conclusive evidence that the driver is impaired. In addition, if there are numerous people in the car, it may be tricky to attribute an odor of alcohol to any one person.
- Bloodshot / Watery Eyes – Bloodshot and watery eyes are a common indication that a driver may have been drinking or using drugs. However, this symptom is also commonly associated with being tired, crying, and even wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time.
- Slurred Speech – While intoxicated individuals have a tendency to slur their words, other people such as stroke victims, people suffering from exhaustion, or those suffering from speech impediments may also be perceived to exhibit slurred speech.
- Contradictory Accounts – A common technique employed by law enforcement during DUI stops is to ask the same questions in different ways to try and elicit contradictory statements, specifically in regards to whether or not the driver had been drinking. These tactics can be confusing, which would prompt contradictory statements regardless. In addition, many people become nervous when questioned by police and may not think through their answers.
- Slow Response Time – Drivers who are unusually slow to respond to officer requests and questions may be impaired, and officers may cite slow response time as a symptom of intoxication.
- Lack of Coordination, Stumbling, Difficulty Removing Wallet/ID – An officer will typically recognize a person's lack of physical coordination during their interaction and may cite this as a symptom of intoxication. However, there are many people who are naturally uncoordinated and being nervous around police may contribute to a person's lack of coordination.
- Appearance – Sometimes, a drunk or disheveled appearance is cited by officers as an indication that the driver is impaired.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has released the following results of a study conducted regarding the likelihood a driver is intoxicated based on a variety of traffic violations:
- 65% chance of intoxication - performing wide-radius turns, driving while straddling lane lines and markers
- 60% chance of intoxication - "appearing drunk" (the NHTSA does not specify what this means), near-accidents, pronounced weaving
- 55% chance of intoxication - swerving or driving off a road or highway
- 50% chance of intoxication - driving below the speed limit by 10 mph or more
- 45% chance of intoxication - tailgating, driving on lane lines, unnecessary braking, driving into oncoming traffic
- 40% chance of intoxication - misuse of turn signals
- 35% chance of intoxication - slow response time at traffic lights, sudden turns/illegal turns
- 30% chance of intoxication - sudden speeding up or slowing down, failure to use headlights during darkness
If you have been charged with a DUI offense in Beverly Hills, it is very important that you review your case with an experienced Beverly Hills DUI attorney immediately. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Beverly Hills DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is highly adept at fighting all aspects of DUI cases. Mr. Kraut is respected in Beverly Hills as a tough litigator who possesses an extensive knowledge of DUI law.
For more information about Beverly Hills symptoms of intoxication, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Beverly Hills DUI Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 8484 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 660B, Beverly Hills, CA 90211-3220. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 310-550-6935.