Getting pulled over by a police officer is typically a nerve-wracking experience. No matter the time of day or the reason, most people feel their heart speed up when they notice an officer trying to stop their car. For some, the situation may seem more intense if they had a few drinks before getting behind the wheel.
If you did have a few drinks before driving, it does not necessarily mean that you have broken the law. You may have waited enough time between drinks to keep your blood alcohol concentration level low, or you may not even have had enough to drink to change your demeanor in any way. Still, there is a chance that an officer may suspect you of DUI.
Why might an officer suspect DUI?
Police officers use various methods to determine whether they believe a person is driving under the influence. For instance, if an officer noticed what they believe was erratic driving on your part, that officer may conduct a traffic stop. If they smell alcohol or think your eyes look bloodshot, the possibility of drunk driving may jump to the officer's mind.
To gain more evidence, the officer may ask you to perform field sobriety tests. The officer may want you to stand on one leg, follow a finger or another object with just your eyes, or walk a straight line. These tests allow the officer to observe your balance and coordination, but they are not necessarily objective methods of testing.
Can an officer question you?
If an officer has ever pulled you over, you know that they usually ask many questions. Some of them may seem innocent, like where you were going or coming from. However, it is important to remember that officers are trying to gather information during these interactions. If you believe an officer has pulled you over and suspects DUI, they can ask you various questions. Because you are not under arrest, the officer does not have to read you your Miranda Rights first.
Of course, if an officer does place you under arrest for suspicion of DUI, they must read you your rights.