DUI: When You're Pulled Over
What Is the Timeline Required to Resolve a DUI Case? What Happens from The Point of Being Pulled Over for Suspicion of DUI, Being Arrested and So On?
After being pulled over, an officer should only investigate whether or not someone is driving under the influence after he believes there is reasonable suspicion that the person being stopped has been drinking or might otherwise be driving while under the influence. More times than not, reasonable suspicion is formulated as a result of observations the police officer made of the driver’s driving, observations of the driver himself and often the smell of alcohol or cannabis.
Once the officer believes that there is reasonable suspicion that the driver might be driving while intoxicated, he is then going to conduct an additional investigation to determine whether or not the person operating the motor vehicle is indeed driving under the influence. Based on the training the police officer has received, this investigation will include conducting field sobriety testing, provided the driver is willing to consent to the field sobriety testing. These tests will include the walk and turn test, the one-legged stand test and horizontal gaze nystagmus testing. These three tests comprise the standardized field sobriety tests. The officer could also ask the driver to consent to a Portable Breath Test (PBT) to make a preliminarily determination of the driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC).
After his investigation, if the officer believes he has probable cause to arrest the driver for driving under the influence, the driver will be arrested. Once the arrest is made, the officer is to conduct a twenty minute observation of the driver to ensure that he has not put anything in his mouth, including food or water, that he has not belched and that he has not regurgitated any of his stomach contents. At this point, the officer will also likely read the required Warning to Motorists admonitions. Once this twenty minute observation period has been completed, the officer will ask the defendant to consent to a breathalyzer. The officer could also ask for the driver to submit to a blood test or ask the driver for a urine sample. A refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test will result in the individual’s driver’s license being suspended for a period of one year, if they are a first time offender.
At this point, if the officer believes that he has probable cause to arrest the driver, then the diver will be arrested and given a bond. The bond will tell the defendant driver when he must appear for court. At this date, an arraignment will be conducted, at which time the defendant will enter a plea of not guilty.
It is important to remember that once probable cause has been established, failure to consent to a breath, blood, or urine sample will result in a suspension of no less than one year. It is difficult to say when someone should submit to a breath, blood, or urine test or not. If the defendant does submit to chemical testing, then their license will only be suspended for six months, if they are a first time offender.
Not submitting to a breathalyzer or other chemical testing does make the case somewhat easier to defend, but again, their license will be suspended longer if they do not submit to chemical testing. Another advantage of not submitting to chemical testing is that the defendant will never lose the ability to drive a vehicle, provided it is equipped with a BAIID or Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device now. This did not use to be the case before.