What Do Police Look for During a DWI Stop? | Atascosa County Defense Lawyer

location1433 3rd St, Floresville, TX 78114


What Do Police Look for During a DWI Stop?

 Posted on July 16,2021 in DWI

Jourdanton dwi defense laywerDWI arrests are a high priority for law enforcement in cities, counties, and municipalities across the country. The belief is that heavy enforcement of DWI laws along with public education campaigns will widely discourage people from driving drunk. In turn, these jurisdictions also prioritize DWI training, which coaches officers to evaluate drivers for signs of driving under the influence. So, what are police actually looking for when they evaluate a driver for signs of intoxication?

To answer that question, we look to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency that sets the standards and creates instruction materials for DWI training.  

Personal Contact

According to NHTSA training materials, there are three phases to a DWI traffic stop: vehicle in motion, personal contact, and pre-arrest screening. In the first phase, the officer is essentially looking for a traffic violation, and in the third phase, they are administering standard field sobriety tests. In between is phase two: personal contact. 

In the personal contact phase, the officer will engage you as he or she would during a routine traffic stop, but they are also scanning you and the inside of your vehicle for any indication of intoxication. If he or she sees something, this will heighten their awareness and they will begin purposefully seeking details to support a DWI case. 

They look for bloodshot eyes, shaky hands, beer cans, pill bottles, and drug paraphernalia. The odor of an alcoholic beverage, burnt cannabis, or products that might be used to conceal those things like an air freshener or gum may also be signs of intoxicated driving. 

Next, the officer will begin interviewing you and they will analyze not just what you say, but also how you say it. The officer will listen for slurred speech, unusual statements, abusive language, or inconsistent responses. 

When the officer asks a question, they may ask you to do two things at once like provide a license and insurance card, and they may ask you distracting or unusual questions. Depending on how you respond, the officer may then begin asking more straightforward questions like “where have you been tonight?” Or “how much have you had to drink tonight?”

At the end of the personal contact stage, the officer will have enough information to determine whether or not to advance to the pre-arrest screen stage.  

Contact an Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a DWI, contact a Jourdanton DWI defense lawyer from BRCK Criminal Defense Attorneys for help defending yourself against these charges. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of combined criminal defense experience. Every partner in the firm has been either a judge or prosecutor at one point in their career. Don’t fight your case alone. Call 830-769-1010 for a free consultation today.



Share this post:
Back to Top