DC DUI Stop Process

When a person is driving and they see lights flash behind them, they should pull over to the shoulder of the road. When they are pulling over, they should ensure that the area is safe for the officer to engage with them and not be in the way of traffic. Officers are trained in going through a typical stop-process. Drivers should understand the DC DUI stop process in case they are pulled over for drunk driving.

If you have been pulled over, it is important that you understand what a typical stop process is like in case there are any differences. When a police officer asks a driver to step out of the car, this is another part of the traffic stop where a police officer is trying to gain evidence of a person’s possible impairment. The police may ask a person to participate in field sobriety testing to use that as further evidence of impairment. A driver never has an obligation to perform field sobriety tests. If you are facing DUI charges from being pulled over, it is essential that you know your legal rights and attains a local DUI traffic stop lawyer.

Typical Stop Process

Once the police officer engages a driver, the first things they typically ask for are the person’s driver’s license, their vehicle registration, and their proof of insurance. The police ask for this information to run a check to the person’s driving privileges and their registration. It is also the beginning of the officer’s investigation for evidence of driving under the influence.

Officers can use the manner in which a person collects the requested information as evidence against them. As an example, if a person has difficulty collecting all the requested documents, police officers may claim that such difficulties are evidence of impairment. The police may claim that it is not uncommon for people to have difficulties finding certain documents that they are not frequently asked to retrieve. Nonetheless, police officers often ask for documents while interjecting those requests with other questions to see whether the person is able to multitask and provide documents while answering other questions.

Police officers commonly use a person’s ability to answer questions along with providing requested documentation as potential evidence against them in a DUI prosecution. The police officer may ask a driver for documentation and at the time ask other questions such as where the driver is coming from, where they are going, and other potentially unexpected questions that could confuse people who did not consume any alcohol.

Stepping Out of the Vehicle

After asking the initial questions and asking for driver documentation, a police officer may ask a driver to step out of the vehicle. Under Washington, DC rules, a police officer always has the authority to ask a driver to step out of the vehicle even if the officer has no specific evidence of a crime being committed; anything more than a simple traffic infraction.

If a person is pulled over by the police and is asked to step out their car; the person must comply and cannot refuse that request by the police. The police officer may look for how the person gets out of the car to see whether they need to support themselves on the frame of the car to assist in getting out. The police may be looking for whether the driver can stand up straight without swaying or wobbling. They also continue asking the driver questions to see if they can smell alcohol or drugs on the person’s breath or gain any other evidence of impairment by alcohol or drugs.

Field Sobriety Tests

However, refusal to cooperate with field sobriety testing does not necessarily mean the police cannot make an arrest because they do not have evidence from a field sobriety test. The police can support an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence based on other evidence such as slurred speech, the smell of alcohol or drug on a person’s body or breath, or admissions of drinking by the driver. But when the officer asks the person to cooperate with field sobriety testing, no driver has a legal obligation to comply with those requests. A person can legally refuse to participate in field sobriety testing.

Field sobriety testing usually consists of an eye test called a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, a walk and turn test, and a one-leg stand test. There are multiple clues that police officers look for when conducting the field sobriety tests. The tests can consist of extremely complicated instructions that might not be well-explained or well-described by the officer conducting the test.

The results of the tests are frequently be used by police officers as evidence of a driver’s impairment and evidence to support a person’s arrest. Once police officers complete the standardized field sobriety tests, they make a decision about whether to arrest the driver. When they decide to arrest the driver, a police officer transports the driver back to the local police district for processing and possible chemical testing.

Benefits of a Lawyer

When a person is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence; the police have different options for handling the driver’s vehicle. One option is to park the vehicle in a legal parking space near the location of the traffic stop. Another option is for the police to drive the vehicle to a location near the police district where the driver is booked. The third option is to tow and impound the vehicle. In each of those situations, the driver can return to the vehicle upon their release and pick up the vehicle from the location of the stop or from the impound lot.

If you have been pulled over for drunk driving and go through a typical DC DUI stop process, there may be enough evidence against you for a judge to make a conviction. It is important that you attain an attorney right away to begin building a strong defense case. They can review any evidence, prepare you for a hearing, and determine the best course of action. An attorney can advise you on plea deals and mitigate on your behalf.