Based on the officer’s observation, they must decide whether there is sufficient cause to command the driver to stop, either to conduct further investigations to determine if they suspect the driver may be impaired, or for another traffic violation. The officer is not committed to arresting the suspect for DWI based on the initial observation, but is concentrating on gathering all relevant evidence that may suggest impairment.
The officer’s second task during phase one is to observe the manner in which the suspect responds to the officer’s signal to stop, and not to any additional evidence of DWI violation. If the initial observation discloses vehicle maneuvers or human behaviors that may be associated with impairment, the officer may develop an initial suspicion of DWI.
The officer bust decide whether there is reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle. At this point, the officer can either stop the vehicle, continue to observe the vehicle, or disregard the vehicle.
Drivers who are impaired frequently exhibit certain effects or symptoms of impairment. These include
- Slowed reactions
- Impaired judgment as evidenced by a willingness to take risks
- Impaired vision
- Poor coordination
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsored research to identify the most common and reliable indicators of DWI. This research identified 24 cues, each with an associated high probability that the driver exhibiting the cue is impaired.
Problems Maintaining Proper Lane Positions
- Weaving Across Lane Lines
- Straddling A Lane Line
- Turning With Wide Radius
- Almost Striking Object or Vehicle
Speed and Braking Problems
- Stopping Problems
- Accelerating or Decelerating Rapidly
- Varying Speed
- Slow Speed
- Driving in Opposing Lanes or Wrong Way On One Way Street
- Slow Response to Traffic Signals
- Slow or Failure to Respond to Officer’s Signals
- Stopping in Lane for no Apparent Reason
- Driving without headlights
- Failure to signal or signal inconsistent with action
- Following too Closely
- Improper or Unsafe Lane Change
- Illegal or Improper Turn (Too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.)
- Driving on Other Than Designated Roadway
- Stopping Inappropriately in Response to Officer
- Inappropriate or Unusual Behavior (Throwing Objects, Arguing, etc)
- Appearing to Be Impaired; Examples of specific indicators might include:
- Eye Fixation
- Tightly gripping the steering wheel
- Slouching in the seat
- Gesturing erratically or obscenely
- Face close to the windshield
- Driver’s head protruding from vehicle
Post Stop Clues
- Difficulty with motor vehicle controls
- Difficulty exiting the vehicle
- Fumbling with Driver’s License or Registration
- Repeating questions or comments
- Swaying, unsteady, or balance problems
- Leaning on the vehicle or other object.
- Slurred Speech
- Slow to respond to officer/officer must repeat
- Provides incorrect information, changes answers
- Odor of alcoholic beverage from the driver
The second task during Phase One of the detection process is to observe the manner in which the driver responds to the officer’s signal to stop, and to note any additional evidence of a DWI violation.
Cues reinforcing the suspicion of DWI may be found in the stopping sequence. After the command to stop is given, the impaired driver may exhibit additional important evidence of DWI. These cues may include:
- An attempt to flee
- No response
- Slow response
- An abrupt swerve
- Sudden stop
- Striking the curb or another object
Common Questions in DWI Detections
- What is the vehicle doing?
- Do I have grounds to stop the vehicle?
- How does the driver respond to my signal to stop?
- How does the driver handle the vehicle during the stopping sequence?
Collin County criminal lawyer Constantine Anagnostis dedicates his practice to people who are facing criminal charges, with a primary emphasis on DWI, Drug Offenses, Expunction & Nondisclosure Agreements, and Occupational Driver’s License Issues. Collin County criminal lawyer Constantine G. Anagnostis understands the law, procedures, and penalties pertaining to criminal law, and will aggressively fight to protect your rights. Collin County criminal lawyer Constantine Anagnostis provides the utmost personal dedication to each and every case, and truly cares about his clients. You may call 817-229-0319 to schedule a free consultation, or submit a sample case form. At the Law Office of Constantine G. Anagnostis, we look forward to helping you.