Burbank Symptoms Of Intoxication
Throughout the Burbank DUI Process, law enforcement officers will be particularly attentive for any symptoms of intoxication the suspect driver may exhibit. In order to proceed with a DUI stop and ultimately arrest a DUI suspect, the officer must have a reasonable belief that the person driving is impaired. If an officer notices various symptoms of intoxication when he or she has initiated contact with a driver in Burbank, that officer is then justified in asking the driver to perform a barrage of field sobriety tests. The presence or absence of symptoms of intoxication based on an officer's observation of physical characteristics is critical in helping a law enforcement officer from the Burbank Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, or another law enforcement agency determine whether or not a suspect is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What is and is not considered a "symptom of intoxication" can vary from officer to officer and may be subject to personal bias or interpretation. Many times, these symptoms are caused by other conditions or factors that have nothing to do with drug or alcohol intoxication.
When filling out a police report, it is often the case that the reporting officer must check preprinted boxes concerning whether or not various symptoms of intoxication were present in a suspect. Many times, officers will simply check all of the boxes, and there is little a person can do to challenge these observations at a later date. Frequently, people accused of DUI in Burbank are highly shocked when they read the various inaccurate descriptions of symptoms of intoxication in police reports purportedly describing them.
While there is no set standard list of symptoms of intoxication, the following symptoms are frequently listed by Burbank law enforcement officers:
- Bloodshot / Watery Eyes – When a person drinks or uses drugs, they tend to display watery and bloodshot eyes. However this condition is not mutually exclusive to drug or alcohol use and can be caused by several factors, including exhaustion, crying or simply wearing contact lenses too long.
- Slurring of Speech – Slurred speech is commonly associated with intoxication, however it can be caused by a host of other conditions.
- Odor of Alcohol – If officers smell alcohol in a vehicle, this is usually a strong indication that someone in that vehicle has been drinking. However, the smell may be caused by someone in the car other than the driver.
- Stories Contradict – During a DUI stop, officers will engage the driver in conversation and ask numerous questions. They may find it suspicious if the driver provides contradictory stories in response to these questions. However, many people get nervous around the police and their contradictory stores may have nothing to do with intoxication.
- Slow Response Time – If a driver takes a long time answering questions or responding to requests, an officer may consider this to be a symptom of intoxication. It could also be caused by nervousness, exhaustion, and numerous other reasons.
- Lack of Coordination, Fumbling with Wallet, Stumbling etc – When someone is intoxicated, he or she is more likely to show obvious signs of intoxication. Again, this is not conclusive evidence of intoxication and can be explained by nervousness and various other factors.
- Appearance – Officers frequently cite a driver's appearance as a symptom of intoxication. Once again, there are numerous reasons unrelated to drug or alcohol consumption that can explain an "intoxicated appearance."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has studied and compiled the following list of common driving conduct associated with intoxication and the likelihood that a driver is intoxicated based on his or her particular conduct:
- 65% likelihood that the driver is impaired - making wide-radius turns, straddling lane lines and markers while driving
- 60% likelihood that the driver is impaired - exhibiting a "drunk appearance" (the NHTSA does not specifically define this), near-miss collision, pronounced weaving
- 55% likelihood that the driver is impaired - swerving or driving off a road
- 50% likelihood that the driver is impaired - driving under the speed limit by 10 mph or more
- 45% likelihood that the driver is impaired - tailgating, driving on lane dividers and demarcations, unnecessary braking, driving on the wrong side of the road
- 40% likelihood that the driver is impaired - improper use of turn signals
- 35% likelihood that the driver is impaired - driver is slow to respond at traffic lights, driver makes sudden turns or illegal turns
- 30% likelihood that the driver is impaired - sudden acceleration or slowing, no headlights during darkness
If you have been charged with DUI in Burbank, it is critical that you discuss your case with an experience Burbank DUI attorney as soon as possible. Burbank DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who previously was assigned as a prosecutor in the Burbank Branch Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Mr. Kraut is highly regarded in Burbank as a skillful attorney who possesses an extensive knowledge of the DUI law.
For more information about Burbank symptoms of intoxication, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Burbank DUI Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 2600 West Olive Avenue, 5th Floor, Burbank, CA 91505. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 818-563-9810.