For most Mississippi residents, the worst they can ever expect from a law enforcement traffic stop is probably a speeding ticket. But, any traffic stop has the potential to turn into something much more serious, if the law enforcement official who initiates the stop suspects that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol. So, what happens if you are stopped for a suspected DUI?
Well, for starters, it is important for law enforcement officials to have a valid reason to initiate a traffic stop to begin with. They can’t just pull over anyone they want at any time. In most cases, a law enforcement official will observe a suspected DUI driver for a period of time, waiting for some traffic violation to occur, such as turning without signaling or briefly crossing the centerline, for example. Upon observing such an alleged infraction, the law enforcement official will, potentially, have a reason to initiate a traffic stop.
If the interaction proceeds to the point at which the law enforcement official suspects that the driver may be intoxicated, field sobriety tests may come into play. Although each DUI stop is different, the three most common field sobriety tests that might occur are the “one-leg stand” test, the “walk-and-turn” test and the “horizontal gaze nystagmus” test, which is more commonly understood as the “watch the tip of my pen with your eyes” test.
Suspected DUI drivers may also be requested to submit to a breathalyzer test. In that test, the suspect will be asked to blow directly into a tube that goes through a small machine which, if calibrated correctly, can give a read-out of a person’s blood alcohol content. If, in the end, the law enforcement official believes the suspect is intoxicated, an arrest may occur.