In Missouri, residents like you know not to hit the road after having a drink. Unfortunately, officer observation is not a fool-proof tool of DWI detection. Even if you did not consume any alcohol, you could end up getting into trouble.
This is especially true when it comes to probable causes for arrest. Officers may feel secure in their decision when in reality they are accusing you of a crime you did not commit.
Probable causes to arrest
According to FieldSobrietyTests.org, officers often look for probable causes to arrest in a traffic stop. This is particularly true if they believe you are driving while under the influence. Probable causes to arrest are suspicious clues or signs that you are driving drunk. Some examples include:
- Slurred speech
- The smell of alcohol
- Red eyes
- Erratic behavior
Why these clues are problematic
But many of these have other explanations. For example, you may have just had a steak with a port wine marinade for dinner. The officer may smell the alcohol from the wine sauce on your breath and assume you drank alcohol when you did not. Allergies and even poor air quality can cause you to suffer from red eyes.
Many health conditions affect your speech. Sufferers of anxiety also struggle with speech impediments triggered by stressful events. Even people without anxiety can stutter in the presence of an officer. Likewise, unusual behavior often happens due to the stress of facing law enforcement.
You cannot easily prove the aforementioned signs of potential guilt. Because of this, they cannot act as condemning evidence. Officers should not treat them as such.