Defending A DUI: The Exit Sequence
There are three distinct phases to an alcohol investigation. The first phase involves the officer observing your driving behavior and determining whether or not to initiate a stop. This first phase is called the ‘Vehicle in Motion‘ Phase.
The second phase is the ‘Personal Contact‘ phase. Here the officer has exited his/her vehicle and is having a conversation with you. Do you look drunk? Do you smell drunk? Do you sound drunk? A trained law enforcement officer has many tools in their arsenal to help determine if you may be intoxicated. If the officer is satisfied that enough evidence exists, they will ask you to exit the vehicle. [Note: the legal standard required to have you exit the vehicle for further investigation is reasonable and articulable suspicion].
When the officer asks you to exit the vehicle, they are trained to look for the following signs of impairment:
- Angry, unusual reactions
- Can’t follow instructions
- Can’t open door
- Leaves car in gear
- “Climbs” out of car
- Leans against car
- Keeps hands on car (for balance)
The only way an officer will care about how you exit the vehicle is if he has already determined you may be impaired by alcohol or a drug of abuse. NHTSA IV-6. Therefore, to avoid the appearance that you are impaired, exit the car in an orderly fashion as instructed by the officer. From that point you can decide if it is in your interests to participate in the standardized field sobriety tests. Why would you? The officer is already suspicious of your sobriety, so why give them additional evidence upon which to support their theory. Politely say that you don’t wish to do anything else until you speak to an attorney.
Plan ahead by knowing your rights and having the Dayton DUI Attorney 24 hr. Hotline number at the ready. Call us at (937) 776-2671 and we will talk about your case. Learn more about Charles M. Rowland II at www.DaytonDUI.com.