The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

What do DUI Officers Look For?

Here's an interesting question for Pennsylvania DUI attorneys: What happens when someone is stopped for a DUI in Pennsylvania?

The answer is generally the same for most DUI officers. However, sometimes direct input from a DUI officer can help you understand PA DUI laws a little better. 

In an article, based on a 2007 Pocono Record interview, a reporter asks a DUI officer for a detailed description of a DUI arrest. Here's a breakdown of what police officers in the Pocono region look for in a DUI arrest case:

What makes a car "suspicious"?

The first stage for a DUI officer is to pull the car over if the officer suspects a possible DUI.  Here are a few things that tip off an officer that the driver may be drunk, according to the officer asked by the Pocono Record:

  • Excessive braking, when there's no reason to brake. 
  • Inability to stay in one lane.
  • Non-use of turn signals.
  • Making abrupt turns.
  • Stopping at green lights.
  • Erratic speeds (i.e. slowing down and then speeding up again).

What makes for "probable cause" when someone is pulled over?

Once the car is pulled over, the driver may be arrested if the officer has probable cause that a crime has been committed. Factors that may lead to probable cause include:

  • Odor of alcohol.
  • Slurred speech or no talking at all.
  • Fumbling with paperwork.
  • Jerky eye movements.
  • Bad field sobriety test.

What happens if probable cause is found?

  • The police advise the driver that he/she is under arrest.
  • Police reads the driver the Pennsylvania Implied Consent law.
  • Driver has to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test at the risk of suspension of drivers' license.

What happens to the car?

  • The car remains parked at the side of the road. The officers take the keys and the driver must come to the station the next day to get the keys back.

Does the driver go to jail after a DUI arrest?

  • Not all drivers go to jail. The driver is usually taken in handcuffs to the hospital in order to take a blood test. They can then call someone to pick them up from the hospital. Only "the belligerent ones", according to the Pocono Record interview, end up spending the night in jail.

If you've been suspected of a DUI, make the call and contact a local PA DUI attorney immediately. A Pennsylvania DUI attorney can help you understand the charges and can navigate you through the legal system.

If you have general questions about DUIs, please visit our Related Resources links.   

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