Glendale Symptoms Of Intoxication
When a law enforcement officer in Glendale stops a vehicle and initiates contact with the driver as part of the Glendale DUI Process, that officer will be paying particularly close attention to any symptoms of intoxication that may be present. If the officer notices enough of these symptoms, he or she will form the opinion that the driver may be intoxicated and will have the driver exit the vehicle to conduct field sobriety tests.
Specifically, a law enforcement officer from the Glendale Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department or another Glendale-based agency will be trying to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
What may be a "symptom of intoxication" in one suspect can be something completely unrelated to drugs or alcohol in another. Police reports are usually generated with numerous common symptoms of intoxication already listed, and the arresting officer is simply required to check the relevant boxes for the symptoms he observed when filling out his report. It is often the case that an officer will mark all boxes in their reports, as the judgments rely on subtle observations that are basically immune from later challenge. The accuracy of an officer's observations may be doubtful, and many people charged with DUI in Glendale are later shocked to read how they are described in arrest reports.
While there are many different conditions that can be indicative of alcohol or drug consumption, the following is a list of some of the things that Glendale law enforcement officers are watchful for:
- Slurring of Speech – A well-known symptom of intoxication is the tendency to slur words or speech. However, slurred speech can be indicative of many other conditions, ranging from simply being tired to a stroke and can have nothing to do with drug or alcohol consumption. In addition, some people naturally do not speak clearly and seem to be slurring words when they are not.
- Bloodshot Eyes / Watery Eyes – While this may be indicative of alcohol or drug intoxication, this can also be associated with a long list of conditions, including contact lens irritation, crying or being tired. Some people naturally have red and watery eyes.
- Odor of Alcohol – Alcohol has a unique odor, and the smell of it on a driver's breath is usually a strong indication that the driver has been drinking alcohol. However, one cannot conclude from odor alone how much a driver has been drinking or if they are intoxicated. In addition, if there are other passengers in the vehicle, the smell of alcohol may be attributed to them.
- Contradictory Stories – One tactic commonly employed by law enforcement officers during DUI stops is to pepper the suspect with several questions about where they are coming from and what their destination is. A drunk driver may get confused and gives nonsensical or contradictory answers. However, sober drivers can get nervous and confused when confronted with this line of questioning as well.
- Slow Response Time – An officer may find it suspicious if a driver takes a long time answering questions or complying with requests. While this can be symptomatic of intoxication, it can also be caused by exhaustion, nervousness or a host of other conditions.
- Coordination Problems, Stumbling when Walking, Poor Motor Skills – Officers will look for coordination issues associated with impairment, such as the driver fumbling with his or her wallet when asked to provide identification. This fumbling can be a result of nervousness or the driver may simply be a clumsy person.
- Appearance – Law enforcement officers may cite a person's appearance as being indicative of intoxication. However, a disheveled appearance does not necessarily equate to being drunk and can have a number of innocent explanations.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has recognized that certain driving conduct can be associated with intoxication, and has compiled statistics regarding the likelihood a driver is impaired based on the driving conduct observed:
- Completing wide-radius turns ("farmer turns"), driving while straddling lane lines and markers– 65% chance of driver intoxication
- “Appearing Drunk” (which is not specifically defined by the NHTSA), near-miss accidents, driving in a serpentine manner – 60% chance of driver intoxication
- Swerving or driving off a road – 55% chance of driver intoxication
- Driving at under the speed limit by 10 mph or more, unexplained stopping, drifting – 50% chance of driver intoxication
- Tailgating, Driving on lane lines and dividers, unnecessary braking, driving into oncoming traffic– 45% chance of driver intoxication
- Misuse of turn signals – 40% chance of driver intoxication
- Slow response time at traffic lights, sudden turns, illegal turns– 35% chance of driver intoxication
- Sudden speeding up or slowing down, failure to use headlights in the dark – 30% chance of driver intoxication
If you have been arrested for DUI in Glendale, it is imperative that you speak with a knowledgeable Glendale DUI attorney right away. Glendale DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how to effectively challenge an officer's evaluation of symptoms of intoxication and how this may show bias. Mr. Kraut is highly respected throughout Glendale as a tough litigator who is well-versed in DUI law.
For more information about Glendale symptoms of intoxication, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Glendale DUI Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 450 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 600, Glendale, CA 91203. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 818-507-9123.