Pasadena Symptoms Of Intoxication
During any vehicle stop conducted as part of the Pasadena DUI Process, the law enforcement officer conducting the DUI investigation will first and foremost note any symptoms of intoxication the suspect driver may exhibit. When these objective symptoms are present, the the officer will expand the DUI stop and request that the driver perform a series of Pasadena field sobriety tests.
A law enforcement officer in Pasadena will be looking for physical signs that may indicate that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of drugs. This may be an officer from the Pasadena Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Arcadia Police Department, or any of the other law enforcement agencies operating in and around the Pasadena area.
The symptoms of intoxication can vary for different people, and may be symptoms of other conditions unrelated to drug or alcohol impairment. In many cases, police reports have many common symptoms of intoxication listed, and the reporting officer merely checks the boxes of the ones that apply. Many officers conducting DUI stops simply mark all the boxes showing signs of intoxication, as it is nearly impossible to challenge these observations at a later point. DUI defendants in Pasadena are often surprised to read the physical descriptions marked in police reports regarding their arrest.
The following list includes some of the symptoms of intoxication that law enforcement officers in Pasadena will be looking for when interacting with a suspected DUI driver:
- Slurred Speech – Many people who are under the influence of alcohol tend to slur their words or have trouble speaking clearly. However, this may also be the result of exhaustion, a speech or medical condition, or the driver may just speak that way.
- Bloodshot and Watery Eyes – While this is often present in people who are intoxicated, it can also be indicative of many other things, including exhaustion, having contact lenses in too long, or crying.
- Smell of Alcohol – While having alcohol on one’s breath is a pretty clear sign that the person has been drinking, a smell of alcohol that is present in a car filled with many people can be inaccurately attributed to the driver.
- Conflicting Stories – Officers may repeatedly ask the driver questions such as where are they going and where are they coming from in different ways, in hopes that the driver will give conflicting stories. While this may be a sign that the driver has something to hide or is intoxicated, it is not necessarily an indication that the driver has been drinking. Many people become nervous when dealing with the police and may make verbal slip-ups as a result.
- Slow to Respond to Questions – This may also be a result of being nervous during a traffic stop and is not necessarily evidence that the driver is drunk or under the influence of drugs.
- Fumbling with Identification and Wallet, Stumbling, Poor Motor Skills – While people who are intoxicated tend to be clumsy, fumbling can also be caused by nervousness or a variety of other factors.
- Appearance – Officers may look for drivers who look disheveled or clearly intoxicated. However a disheveled appearance can be caused by a number of different things and is not necessarily indicative of intoxication.
Law enforcement officers in Pasadena may also consider the driving conduct that prompted the enforcement stop. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has compiled statistics regarding driving conduct associated with impaired driving and the likelihood of impaired driving for the particular conduct involved. The following list based on the NHTSA statistics shows how likely a person is to be intoxicated based on their driving conduct:
- Wide-radius turns, straddling lane lines – 65% chance that the driver is intoxicated
- “Appearing drunk” (the NHTSA does not clarify what this means), Near-miss collisions, weaving – 60% chance of intoxication
- Swerving or driving off a marked road – 55% chance that the driver is intoxicated
- Driving at least 10 mph slower than the speed limit, unnecessary stopping, drifting – 50% chance that the driver is intoxicated
- Tailgating, Driving on lane lines, unnecessary braking, driving the wrong way into traffic – 45% chance that the driver is intoxicated
- Use of turn signals inconsistent with driving conduct – 40% chance that the driver is intoxicated
- Slow to respond to traffic lights, sudden/illegal turns – 35% chance that the driver is intoxicated
- Sudden acceleration or slowing, driving without headlights in the dark – 30% chance that the driver is intoxicated
If you have been charged with a Pasadena DUI offense, it is critical that you speak with a Pasadena DUI attorney as soon as possible. An effective DUI attorney may be able to show how other conditions may have been mistaken for symptoms of intoxication and how the officer’s reporting on these observations shows bias. Pasadena DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience. Mr. Kraut previously served as a Senior Trial Prosecutor assigned at the Pasadena Courthouse and is well-known throughout Pasadena as a highly skilled litigator who fights hard for his clients charged with driving under the influence.
For more information about Pasadena symptoms of intoxication, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Pasadena DUI Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 626-345-1899.