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First Contact with Police
Field Sobriety Exercises
After Arrest
Breath Test

The first contact with law enforcement

Everything an officer observes can be used against a person by the State in trial for a DUI charge. Most people believe that field sobriety exercises are only what the State uses, and while it is true that these are strong points of evidence for the prosecution, little observations made by the police can also be key evidence for a jury to consider.

Often police gather evidence of intoxication while following a car

Many times, police observations start before a person is even pulled over. Many people do not realize that they are being followed by a cop at first; this is especially true at night. This allows the officer to make observations about the person's driving pattern. An officer will observe the speed, the car's ability to stay in a single lane, the use of turn signals, weaving, and any out-of-the-normal driving patterns. These observations will be used against the person to try to show that they were impaired and unable to safely drive.

The officer will look for indicators of impairment

After being pulled over, whether because the officer believes you are impaired or because you committed some traffic violation, the officer will pay close attention to you and make note of any observations that would indicate you may be impaired. Police will often take note of any slurred speech, red or watery eyes, flushed face, or odor of alcohol. Other evidence can be more subtle, but just as damaging. For example, any difficulty locating your driver's license, insurance, or registration can show that you are unable to focus or your ability to follow directions is impaired.

If the officer has made any combination of these observations, he or she may feel that there is reason to further investigate you for DUI. It is likely that this further investigation will involve a request, or possibly a demand, that you do field sobriety exercises. Field sobriety exercises are the next step in a complete DUI investigation.

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