One of the most obvious means of being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (also known as DUI, DWI or drunk driving) is to crash the vehicle you are operating into the side of a house in the early morning hours. This is precisely what happened to a man who was arrested for DUI in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed 24 cues to assist law enforcement in detecting possible impaired driving. (See the NHTSA Manual for the Visual Detection of DWI Motorists). NHTSA has broken the cues down into categories.
One category is problems maintaining a proper lane. In that group there would be weaving within a lane, weaving across lane markers, straddling the markers, drifting, swerving, almost striking another vehicle or other fixed object and a wide turn or drifting while going around a curve.
A second set of driving behaviors that suggests impairment includes speed and braking problems. Within this category are stopping too far, too close or too suddenly, slowing down or speeding up for no apparent reason, varying the vehicle’s speed and driving at least 10 MPH under the posted limit.
The third class of cues is referred to generally as vigilance problems. Specifically, this encompasses driving in the oncoming lane or the wrong direction on a one-way street, a slow response to traffic signals, slowness or failure to respond to officer’s signals, stopping in a lane for no obvious reason, driving at night without headlights and failure to signal.
Finally, judgment problems are indicative of impairment according to NHTSA. This includes following too closely, unsafe lane changes, illegal or incorrectly executed turns, driving in an area not designated for vehicles, unusual behavior (arguing, crying, throwing things).
The next phase of a DUI arrest concerns actions after the stop. Post stop clues entail difficulty exiting the vehicle, fumbling with the driver’s license, registration and insurance card, repeating statements or questions, balance problems, leaning on the vehicle, slurred speech, a slow reaction time to officer’s commands, an odor of alcohol and providing incorrect information and answers to questions (such as, where are you).
All of the preceding are based upon nothing more than the officer’s general observations, without taking into account any specialized divided-attention tests, which are known as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST). NHTSA recognizes the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus), the WAT (walk-and-turn) and the OLS (one-legged stand) as being reliable.
After completing that set of tests, the officer will pull out the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) instrument. While the results of the PBT are not admissible to prove the driver’s BAC level, the officer is entitled to rely upon them in determining whether to make a DUI arrest. 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2
Following these tests, there is an almost certainty that the officer will arrest the driver and at the police station, demand a breath test after a twenty-minute observation period. If the driver gives a breath sample, those results are admissible to prove if the driver was above the legal limit of .08, under the per se law. If the driver does not give a sample, that fact can be used in court as proof of a “guilty mind”.
Anatomy of a Springfield Illinois DUI arrest November 12, 2010, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg
Are standardized field sobriety tests based upon “junk science”? July 20, 2012, Illinois DUI Lawyer Blawg