A DUI arrest is truly a scary and unpleasant experience – especially if you have never been arrested for a DUI before. If you have been arrested for a DUI and are awaiting trial, you need an Blacksburg DUI defense attorney on your side who can safeguard all of your legal rights while your case in pending.
How Are People Arrested for DUI in Blacksburg?
In most cases, people are arrested for DUIs as part of “pretextual” traffic stops. In other words, the police stop a vehicle for speeding, running a red light, or some other relatively minor traffic infraction, all the while suspecting that the driver has been drinking or is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
For an officer to arrest a driver for DUI, he or she must have probable cause that the driver has been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. An officer may develop probable cause if he or she notices one or more of the following:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Odor of alcohol
- Slurred speech
- Erratic movements or behavior
- Appearance of intoxication
- Admissions to drinking alcohol shortly before or while driving
- Breathalyzer test results
- Performance on field sobriety tests taken at the traffic stop location
When it comes to erratic driving, police officers are trained to look for certain characteristics which might point to driving while under the influence. Common examples of erratic driving might include:
- weaving within a lane or weaving in and out of traffic,
- stopping and starting abruptly,
- quick changes in speed,
- failing to use turn signals, and
- other types of similar movements and actions.
Any of these may constitute probable cause to arrest a person for DUI.
Appearing Intoxicated While Driving
Police officers are also trained to observe drivers’ appearances, facial features, and other physical characteristics, in order to determine whether the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel. These physical characteristics include:
- smelling of alcohol,
- glassy eyes, or
- slurred speech.
These characteristics may constitute probable cause to arrest a driver for DUI.
Admissions to Drinking
If a driver makes any kind of statement about drinking alcohol, that admission may be used as probable cause for an officer to make a DUI arrest.
Field Sobriety Tests
An officer who suspects that a driver is under the influence of alcohol may ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests, such as the walk and turn, one leg stand, or HGN test. If the driver performs poorly, the officer may have the probable cause he or she needs to make a DUI arrest.
Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)
Although Blacksburg drivers are not required to take this test, if the blood alcohol reading produced from the test shows that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, the driver will automatically undergo a DUI arrest. It is important to note that a PBT is different from a breathalyzer test. The latter is performed at the police station after the driver has already been arrested. Unlike a PBT, a breathalyzer test is usually mandatory.
Contact a Blacksburg DUI Arrest Defense Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
A Blacksburg DUI arrest and conviction has harsh penalties associated with it, including fines, jail time, mandatory alcohol classes, ignition interlock installation, and driver’s license suspensions and revocations. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact The Fisher Law Firm, P.C. as soon as possible at 540-381-8750.