Transcript of Episode 005 “Ask a Lawyer with Joey Franks” – What Do Police Look for with a DUI?

What Do Police Look for in a DUI?

Attorney Franks: A challenging part of the road is where they like to set up DUI roadblocks. Let’s say it’s a bottleneck close to a bar, club or restaurant. That’s fairly common. Also, they are on the hunt for a reason to pull a person over. Swerving, speeding, not stopping at a stop sign are big reasons a guy or gal could get pulled over. It’s not so much that they want to write a ticket for a bad taillight. They want to see if they can find DUI probable cause and that’s all they need under Mississippi law.

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If the cop asks me if I’ve been drinking, what do I say?

Attorney Franks: Implement your Fifth Amendment right to not say anything. Don’t lie to a law enforcement officer, because that’s a really bad thing to do. If you exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, it’s going to make the cop suspicious. However, there’s no dishonesty in doing that. The Fifth Amendment is not privilege, it’s a right. The officer may give you some grief for doing that. However, at the same time, do not give any information that can be used against you at trial.

Do I have a right to a DUI lawyer when I get stopped?

Attorney Franks: That’s almost impossible to do. You see, a field sobriety test is there to find probable cause. The cop uses them to see if you’re drunk and arrest you. However, some tests are not admissible as it relates to impairment. That being said, you don’t have a right to a lawyer at the field sobriety test. Also, a lot of folks are pulled over from 10 pm until 3 am. I can’t be at three different sobriety test points. But I otherwise will fight for you and am not afraid to go to trial for you as well. I try hard to be the best criminal justice attorney Jackson MS

Physically and behavioral, what’s the cop looking for?

Attorney Franks: The smell of alcohol is the first thing they look for. They look for the smell of booze coming from your car when you roll down the window. Then, they listen for slurred speech. If your speech is crisp and proper, and there is no alcohol smell, they might just end it there. The only thing is, if someone has a speech impediment, then the cop might be getting a false positive.

The other thing is, they are looking into the car to see what’s on the seats. They shine a flashlight in the windows to see if there’s open beer cans or booze bottles. For some Mississippi counties, open container is probable cause. Also, do they see drugs and are you nervous? Important indicators for them.

They might ask you to step out of the care and proceed to the back of the auto. The cop looks at your walking and balance. Did you stumble or drag your feet? Keep in mind, physical deformities and disorders can give false positive readings. Maybe the person is ill or had an operation on an ankle.

Anyhow these things give a cop an indication of booze involvement, but it’s not just one thing alone. Officers need to go through a process for a DUI and sometimes they don’t.