What do the police look for after they pull someone over for a traffic stop?

Police reports show that the most commonly observed characteristics of someone under the influence are: 1) the odor of alcohol, 2) bloodshot eyes, and 3) slurred speech. These are the “big 3″ observations that the typical police officer reports seeing while making a drunk driving arrest. Many dui defense attorneys believe that officers will report seeing the “big 3″ out of habit regardless of whether they are actually observed. In truth, science shows that the odor of alcohol smells exactly the same, regardless of whether a person had 1 drink or 10 drinks. Also, there is absolutely no scientific evidence linking intoxication to bloodshot eyes.

Post-stop indications of intoxication taught to law enforcement officers are:

  • Difficulty exiting the vehicle
  • Swaying, unstable, unsteady, or having problems with balance (such as leaning on the car)
  • Fumbling with wallet to retrieve driver’s license
  • Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
  • Odor of alcohol from the driver’s breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Inability to understand the officer’s questions
  • Repeating questions or comments
  • Providing incorrect information or changing answers to the officer’s questions
  • Disorientation as to time and place
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