In a large majority of cases, police who detain a suspect for a DUI report “slurred speech” as a symptom, which along with other observations establishes the probable cause for an arrest. However, can a police officer accurately (1) identify slurred speech and (2) conclude from that observation that a driver is impaired?
Identifying Slurred Speech
The first issue to consider is that when law enforcement contacts a driver, it is almost certainly the first time the two individuals have had any interaction; the police officer has likely never spoken with the driver. Therefore, the driver's normal speech pattern is unknown, and the officer has no basis for comparison. Additionally, some impairment of speech is a commonly recognized reaction to fear, nervousness, and stress and as a DUI lawyer Concord CA can attest to, typical for a driver to experience when pulled over by the police.
A Sign of Impairment
Numerous research studies have reached a very similar conclusion; people, even those trained or experienced in listening to slurred speech, have difficulty in accurately assessing alcohol impairment simply by assessing how an individual speaks. The common thread, as identified in controlled testing, is that listeners tend to overestimate the intoxication level of those who have consumed a moderate amount of alcohol. Although those with experience, such as police officers, bar tenders, and hospital workers were better than average, they still incorrectly assessed the drunkenness of mild drinkers.
Contesting the Evidence
Other than the issue of the validity of using slurred speech as an indicator of impairment, your DUI lawyer can contest the evidence supporting the contention that your speech was slurred. For instance, if there was a conversation between you and the officer in which specific details were related, there may be a contention that your speech was not so slurred as to be indicative of alcohol impairment. Also, if passengers were in the car were present, they may have some observations regarding the facts that are different than those of the officer.
Contact a DUI Lawyer Concord CA for Legal Advice
No one is encouraging drinking and driving, but many charges of DUI are inappropriate. A DUI arrest need not automatically translate into a conviction. To discuss the options in your case, call Blackie Burak, a DUI lawyer Concord CA, at (925) 933-4500 .