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How Can a Police Officer Decide to Arrest You for Drunk Driving?

Posted on : January 20, 2021, By:  Grace Chang

One of the most common legal issues is being pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence. However, law enforcement cannot arrest you without enough evidence that you are operating your vehicle unsafely. 

Before deciding to arrest you for drunk driving, a police officer should: 

Assess the Nature of Your Driving  

Your driving behavior is observed and gauged well before a police officer puts their lights on to pull your vehicle over. A law enforcement officer needs to have what is known as probable cause, or the legal right to stop your vehicle. 

For example, an officer would have probable cause to stop you if you were driving carelessly or disobeying traffic laws. 

Evaluate Your Vehicle 

A police officer is legally allowed to evaluate any readily available signs that you may be driving while intoxicated. For example, the officer can check for the smell of alcohol or marijuana on your breath or in your vehicle and can look with their flashlight at open areas for any contraband that may be visible. 

Observe Your Behavior While You’re Stopped 

As the officer engages with you during the stop, your speech, coordination, and cognitive skills will be observed. The officer is looking for signs of intoxication like extreme confusion and lack of coordination. 

Slurred speech is also a significant reason drivers are charged with drunk driving, even though this can easily be caused by fatigue or a speech impediment. 

Request That You Submit to Chemical Testing  

A common part of a DWI stop is to conduct chemical testing to determine scientifically if there are any intoxicating substances in the driver’s bloodstream. This can be done before an arrest using a breathalyzer, however, this does not check for the presence of drugs like opiods. 

The officer may decide to take you into police custody and transport you to a lab or hospital for a more accurate blood test. 

Arrested and Charged With Drinking and Driving? Attorney Chang Can Help 

If you’ve been arrested for drinking and driving — or for another crime — don’t wait to get experienced legal help. Grace Lea Chang is an experienced general attorney that can provide you with a zealous defense. Attorney Chang has an excellent track record with her clients and will represent you with skill and expertise. 

Call our office today for your initial consultation to discuss your legal needs at (626) 792-5888. We are available now to assist you.