Everyone with a driver’s license and a registered vehicle on the road should fulfill laws and regulations. However, if they fail to abide by these laws, police officers have every right to pull them over. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs falls in this category. If drunk and you are on the road, law enforcement officers can stop you. If involved in a DUI arrest and are unsure what to do, contact a DUI lawyer.
Generally speaking, law enforcement officers in South Carolina need to have a reason to stop your car. They do not have the legal right to randomly stop drivers unless there is a valid reason to do so. They also do not have any right to a driver to perform field sobriety or breathalyzer test unless they suspect that a driver may be drunk. In other words, the law enforcement officer must have probable cause for the stop.
DUIs in South Carolina
In most cases, police officers pull a driver over for drunk driving by observing their driving pattern. Once the officer has probable cause to stop the driver, they will look for other signs that may indicate that the driver is under the influence of alcohol. This could include an erratic driving pattern, speeding, breaking the red light, failure to stop at the Stop sign, etc. No officer can stop you just because they don’t like your car, don’t like you or don’t like the way you drive. They need to have a legitimate reason which will be based on how you’re driving, how you stop, where you stop and your parking ability.
They can also base their decision as to whether you are drunk or not on the basis of your hand and eye movements, your level of coordination, tremor or clumsiness. If you appear anxious, nervous, their doubts will likely increase. If they smell the odor of alcohol on your breath, they can ask you to step out of the car. This is to further assess your behavior and balance. They can also observe your face to determine if your eyes are bloodshot. Officers will also note if your speech is slurred and whether you are cooperative or belligerent. All these are signs of a drunk driver.
Can I Challenge the Officer’s Testimony?
The first thing to remember is that police officers are not doctors and don’t have any formal training in the evaluation of medical patients. Secondly, there are many medical disorders that can mimic the behavior that is seen in alcoholics. Thirdly, there are medications that can also cause signs and symptoms that can be confused with alcoholism. Finally, the driver may simply become nervous at the sight of the policeman. There are ample cases in medicine where people with panic disorders, anxiety, phobias, seizures, and even stroke can have very similar signs that mimic an alcoholic.
In general, law enforcement officers require probable cause to stop your motor vehicle. The policeman simply cannot stop you without a legitimate reason. However, the officer may claim in court that he made certain observations. Plus the officer also has video evidence of your behavior and often that is quite difficult to challenge in court.
This does not mean you cannot challenge the officer’s testimony. However, it is not recommended that you take on a full-on confrontation with law enforcement officials just because you think they are wrong. Talk to your DUI lawyers if you believe that you were falsely accused of drunk driving. If there were medical reasons for your erratic behavior, your DUI attorney could produce witnesses.
However, if the BAC is less than 0.08, the symptoms can be from something else. But if the level is more than 0.08, the jury/judge will believe the law enforcement officer. In any case, it is best to contact a Spartanburg DUI lawyer. If you believe you were falsely arrested for DUI in Spartanburg, SC, call our DUI lawyers at The Bateman Firm. Our Spartanburg DUI lawyer will let you know if you can challenge the officer’s testimony or not.