In order for police to pull a person over, they would need to have reasonable suspicion that the person had committed another crime such as a traffic violation. Realistically, the officer could not know whether someone was driving while impaired until they actually got to the side of the person’s car and observed their mannerisms and observed whether there were any signs and symptoms of impairment.
In theory, an officer would usually try to find some sort of traffic violation to prompt them to pull someone over such as speeding, an improper turn or were weaving outside lanes.
The officer would pull the vehicle over, walk up to the vehicle, ask for the driver’s license, registration and insurance and then they would need to either give the person a ticket, or give them a warning and let them go. The exception is when they have developed a new reasonable suspicion that some other crime or traffic violation had occurred.
The Officer Would Note Down Any Signs And Symptoms Of Intoxication
Oftentimes, the officer would approach the vehicle and then indicate they noticed the signs and symptoms of alcohol impairment or drug impairment. They would joy down in their police report that the suspect had bloodshot and watery eyes, there was an odor of alcohol, or the person had slurred speech and those types of things.
There would really be no reason for the officer to ask the person to step out of the vehicle if they had been pulled over for a traffic violation. There would be nothing to investigate if the vehicle had been pulled over for a speeding ticket or an improper turn ticket.
Officers Would Handle It Differently If The Person Had Previous DUI Or Drug Charges
Officers are naturally interested in their own personal safety, and they have the ability to run a suspect’s license plates on their computer system. They are looking to see whether the registered owner of the vehicle has a criminal background, such as being convicted of possession of a firearm or whether the person had been arrested or convicted of a DUI in the past.
This is something they generally do as part of their investigation prior to even stopping the vehicle. It would not be uncommon for an officer to have a little bit of knowledge or to have a little bit of information before approaching the vehicle. The person the officer pulled over might not actually match the registered owner of the vehicle, for example.
Sometimes an officer even sitting at an intersection may run a license plate of the vehicle in front of them. They would generally not need to have reasonable suspicion to just randomly run a license plate. If the registered owner of the vehicle had previously been convicted of a DUI, then the officer might focus more of their attention on that vehicle. He might wait to see if that vehicle made some sort of maneuver that might be considered a crime or if they did commit a traffic violation the officer could then pull them over. Realistically, an officer could find a number of reasons to stop a vehicle if they wanted to.
Police probably handle the person inside the vehicle a little bit differently depending on what their research turns up.
How Much Probable Cause Would The Police Need To Make An Arrest For DUI
It would not be considered enough probable cause to arrest someone for a DUI simply because the officer was aware the person had a prior DUI. Prior DUI convictions or prior DUI arrests would not be something that appeared in a police reports unless the officer had personally arrested that person previously.
Every now and again, police reports state the officer had previously arrested that same suspect a week earlier or a month earlier. Officers have been trained on how to write police reports and how to keep out certain information that may not look favorable upon them or that may make it look like they were targeting certain individuals.
You Would Not Really Have An Option To Refuse The Breathalyzer Or Urine Test
There would be an option, but it would be completely up to the officer to decide whether to provide a breath test and/or blood test and/or urine test.
I have seen cases where the officer asked the suspect to do a breath test, but the suspect said they did not want to do a breath test and they wanted to do a blood test instead, so they officer just considered that a refusal.
The officer would give the person a one-year license suspension for the refusal. They would then get a warrant and then would ask the person to do a blood test, even though the suspect had wanted to do a blood test the entire time.
Sometimes the officer might ask the person to do a breath test, and the person would agree to do it, but then after a while the officer would ask them to also do a blood test.
The person would ask why the officer wanted them to do a blood test after they had just done a breath test. They officer would then consider that as a refusal and the person would end up getting their license suspended for a year because they still refused even though they had consented to the first test the officer asked them to do.
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