If you have been pulled over by a police officer in Arizona, the initial process a police officer will go through to determine whether to stop or arrest you for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has been detailed in this article.
The initiation of a DUI stop by a police officer is based on his belief, that you are operating your vehicle in an abnormal manner or on the clues leading to fortify his belief.
Most of the people driving a vehicle under the influence show some signs of abnormal driving pattern. The officer will be looking for signs of slow reactions, risky driving, poor judgment and impaired vision.
You could be driving extremely fast or extremely slow. You may have violated a posted control sign, a failed to use a turn signal, used high beams inappropriately or any number or other clues that led the officer to a provocation that you might be driving under the influence.
In most cases these clues, of your operating the vehicle in an unreasonable manner are all an officer needs to justify in pulling your vehicle over.
In Arizona officers look for specific visual cues that indicate the possibility of a driver being intoxicated. These visual cues as established by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), to be probable causes of impairment, are as follows:
1. Headlights off
2. Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
3. Turning abruptly or illegally
4. Stopping inappropriately
5. A slow response to traffic signals
6. Driving into or crossing traffic
7. Erratic application of the brakes
8. Driving with tires on center or lane marker
10. Following too closely
11. Stopping without cause in the lane of traffic
12. Driving slower than 10 miles per hour
14. Driving on other than the designated highway
16. Almost striking object or vehicle
17. Appearing to be drunk: (eye fixation; tightly gripping the steering wheel; gesturing erratically or obscenely; face close to the windshield; drinking in the vehicle; driver’s head protruding from vehicle)
18. Straddling center or lane marker
19. Turning with wide radius
The above listed probabilities when observed in a combination by an officer, gives him more reason to believe that you are driving under the influence.
On initiation of DUI stop, several more cues of impairment observed by the officer, in the stopping sequence, may often be used at trial to prove that you were driving under the influence. Some of the observations include:
- Attempt to flee;
- A slowed response in pulling over;
- No response to the officers lights, siren, and commands;
- Abrupt swerve;
- Sudden stop;
- Stopping in an inappropriate place; and
- Hitting the curb or other object when pulling over.
At trials, prosecutors and officers are known to invariably use the term of “divided attention” to support the impairment charge. Divided attention refers to your inability to execute multiple tasks simultaneously, and is greatly affected by alcohol or drugs in the system. The police officers look for cues of divided attention and impairment on initiation of a DUI stop.
The apprehension of a DUI stop aggravated by the intrusion of the police officers, with flashing lights, sirens and megaphones requires a show of some cool nerves, but many a drivers who are under the influence have trouble handling this situation and as a result fall prey to a DUI examination.