Law enforcement officers in Omaha and throughout Nebraska are always on the lookout for impaired drivers. If an officer believes you are drinking and driving, you will likely be pulled over and questioned. You may even be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests, or FSTs. What do officers look for, though, when they pull a driver over for suspicion of driving under the influence, or DUI?
Omaha DUI Stop
Before you are actually stopped, the officer may observe your driving behavior for a couple of miles. Typically, the officer is looking for behavior such as:
- Speeding or driving very slow
- Weaving in and out of his/her lane
- Forgetting to turn lights on/off
- Failing to signal
- Straddling the center line
- Taking very wide turns
- Following too closely—tailgating
- Braking without a reason
- Striking, or almost striking, an object
- Stopping without a reason
Once an officer has actually stopped a vehicle, the officer will typically begin asking the driver questions. While the officer is engaged in this small talk, he or she is also looking for signs of intoxication. Some of the symptoms of intoxication that the officer will likely look for in the driver or within the vehicle include:
- Rumpled clothing or a disheveled appearance
- Glassy or bloodshot eyes
- The smell of alcohol
- The smell of air freshener
- Empty beer/alcohol bottles
- Slurred speech
- Fumbling with keys or fumbling when looking for documents
- Inconsistent responses to questions
- Inability to follow directions or answer questions
Often, when an officer is called to testify at trial, the officer will testify that he or she observed a number of these signs of intoxication. Because the average patrol officer stops over a hundred motorists a month and typically arrests several of them for DUI, the officer may provide a standard list of signs of intoxication. Moreover, there are a myriad of explanations for most of these “signs” that do not indicate intoxication. Most of the listed driving behaviors could also be caused by a distracted driver instead of an impaired driver.
Having an experienced Omaha DUI attorney on your side will ensure that excessive weight is not placed on these “signs” of intoxication. An experienced attorney can often get an officer to admit that these behaviors could be caused by something other than driving under the influence, which is precisely why you need a skilled attorney on your side.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Omaha, consult with an experienced Omaha DUI attorney as soon as possible. For a free case evaluation, contact Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180.