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What Officers Use to “Prove” Intoxication


A police officer’s job is to gather the facts and arrest (or release) a person based on those facts. Unfortunately, some of these facts are more subjective than people realize. Let’s examine what officers use to “prove” intoxication in citizens.

Erratic Driving

Erratic driving is one of the ways cops diagnose whether or not someone is driving while intoxicated (DWI). While DWI can result in erratic behavior, that doesn’t mean driving erratically is inextricably linked to drinking alcohol. 

There are plenty of other reasons people drive erratically including but not limited to:

  • Eating;
  • Driving drowsy;
  • Texting;
  • Talking on the phone; and
  • Changing music.

Therefore, while erratic driving can signify that someone is DWI, that’s not always the case.

Subjective Observations

Many believe cops can only arrest people for DWIs when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08%; however, this is not true. Does your car smell like alcohol? Are you slurring your words? Are you having trouble focusing? An officer can use any one of these subjective observations to arrest you for a DWI.

Additionally, if an officer testifies against you in court, he or she can use these observations to “prove” your intoxication to the jury.

Portable Breath & Field Sobriety Tests

Many officers ask people to take portable breath tests (PBT) and field sobriety tests. While results from these tests can be used to make an arrest, some of these results are inadmissible in court due to their subjective nature. Therefore, these tests are not as reliable as many would have you believe.

Are You Facing Criminal Charges?

While officers use subjective evidence to make DWI claims, Smith & Vinson use the facts to defend you from misplaced accusations. If you or a loved one is facing DWI charges, you have the right to hire experienced representation for your case.

Call (512) 359-3743 now for a free consultation for your case!

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