When a police officer stops an individual for suspicion of Driving While Impaired (DWI) in North Carolina, they generally engage in the following steps:
First, a police officer must observe an individual driving in a manner that is consistent with a suspected DWI in order to establish reasonable suspicion. To do this, the police officer will compare an individual’s driving to established factors of DWI. These factors can be anything from crossing the center line to almost striking another vehicle. Upon establishing reasonable suspicion for pulling an individual over, a police officer is then allowed to engage his blue lights and begin a DWI stop.
After a police officer has pulled an individual over for a suspected DWI, they will approach the vehicle and interact with the individual in order to confirm their suspicions. A police officer will generally begin by asking for your license and registration. Many police officers will also ask follow up questions in order to establish intoxication like: “Have you been drinking tonight?” “How many drinks have you had?” While a police officer is doing this, he will also be looking to see if you smell of alcohol, slur your words, or generally appear to be impaired. If he believes that you are noticeably impaired, he can then ask you to undergo field sobriety tests.
Field Sobriety Tests
When you are asked to undergo field sobriety tests, you do have the right to refuse. However, if you choose to refuse, the officer will arrest you for suspicion of DWI and you will be subject to immediate revocation of your drivers license. If you do not refuse, you will be asked to submit to a variety of tests involving basic motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and mental engagement. Additionally, after the completion of these tests, the officer will ask you to blow into a portable breath test to determine the presence of alcohol.
If a police officer believes that an individual shows signs of impairment after the use of field sobriety tests, the police officer will arrest the individual for suspicion of DWI. Following this arrest, the officer will restrain the individual, arrange for a sober passenger or a tow truck to take care of the vehicle, and drive the arrest individual to the police station for booking.
If you have been charged with a DWI, don’t hesitate to Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation. We will zealously fight your charges in order to receive the best possible outcome of your case.