DWI Attorney DC

When can the police pull over someone they suspect is drunk driving?

A DWI attorney DC residents depend on, such as one from The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C., has likely provided counsel in a variety of drunk driving cases. It’s possible, for some clients facing drunk driving charges, that law enforcement had no legitimate reason to pull them over in the first place. This lack of a legitimate traffic stop, which led to their DWI arrest, could therefore make the entire case invalid.

However, it may be surprising to learn that police typically consider certain determinants before they decide to stop a driver. At The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C., we believe information is key. It is important for the person facing DWI charges and their DC DWI attorney to examine those determinants before a criminal trial begins in order to prepare a solid legal defense.

What Signs Do Law Enforcement Watch For?

An experienced DWI attorney in DC understands that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed certain determinants for drunk driving detection. Police officers may use these determinants when deciding whether or not to pull over a driver. It is these determinants which will validate whether the officer had probable cause to order the driver to stop their vehicle. A DWI attorney DC can provide could handle many cases where clients are found not guilty or have their charges dismissed because law enforcement failed to abide by the NHTSA determinants.

According to the NHTSA, these determinants should be followed in a three-stage process:

  1. The observation by law enforcement of the vehicle when it is moving;
  2. How the driver behaves once the vehicle has been stopped; and
  3. The driver’s performance of field sobriety tests during the stop.

What Justifies a Suspected DWI Traffic Stop?

The NHTSA instructs law enforcement to watch for certain driving behaviors as an indicator of a possible impaired driver. These behaviors include:

  • Failure to use headlights while driving during nighttime hours
  • Following too closely to the vehicle in front
  • Quick or sudden acceleration or deceleration
  • The vehicle is drifting or swerving into other lanes
  • The vehicle is moving 10 or more miles per hour below the posted speed limit
  • The vehicle is straddling the median line
  • The vehicle suddenly stops in the middle of the street

Once a police officer stops the driver, there are other indicators the NHTSA advises that may mean the driver has been drinking. These include:

  • Bloodshot or watery eyes
  • Inconsistent responses to the officer’s questions
  • Lack of eye/hand/foot coordination
  • Odor of alcohol
  • Odor of mints that have been used to cover the odor of alcohol
  • Slurred speech

If the officer thinks any of these signs are present, the driver may then be asked to step out from their vehicle in order to perform a series of field sobriety tests. These tests may include walking a straight line heel to toe, standing on one leg while counting, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN). Although these tests may appear to be straightforward, a skilled DWI attorney DC clients trust may be able to challenge the results of any one of these tests, as well as any of the determinants the officer felt warranted a traffic stop.

Let a DWI Attorney DC Residents Trust Fight for You

If you have been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, you may need an aggressive DWI attorney in DC who will ensure your rights are protected. A DWI attorney from The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. will be happy to discuss your case in detail during a complimentary case evaluation. To schedule an appointment with a trusted DWI attorney DC has to offer, contact us today at (202) 888-0953 or fill out a contact form from our website.