What happens if you are pulled over when you have been drinking alcohol

What happens if you are pulled over when you have been drinking alcohol

Just because you do not feel that the amount of alcohol that you have drunk will affect the way you drive, but that is not how a police offer measures your ability to past a series of physical tests and what you Blood alcohol limit (BAC) is.  Here is a handy chart to see how many drinks per hour raises your BAC to impairment level based on your gender and weight.


An officer may ask if you have been drinking after you are pulled over.  If you are under the age of 21, and you admit to having consumed alcohol or taking any medications that could impair your ability to drive, you are likely to be arrested for a DUI.  If you are under the age of 21 years old, the blood alcohol limit (BAC) for DUI is .02.  That is equivalent to less than one alcoholic drink within an hour of being tested. If you are over the age of 21 years old, the BAC for DUI is .08.  But if a police officer believes that you are impaired, then he can arrest you even if your BAC is under .08.

If you are suspected of Driving Under the Influence, then you will be asked to get out of the car.  You will be given a battery of tests for the officer to determine if you are driving under the influence of alcohol.  The tests are to determine if there is probable cause to arrest you for DUI.

Involuntary Rapid Eye Movement – also called Nystagmus The officer will ask you to follow his finger or his pen that he is holding about 12 inches in front of your face with your eyes without moving your head.  Alcohol slows down the ability of your eyes to track objects, so the officer gauges how smooth your eyes track his pen.  Alcohol will make your eyes jerkily follow the object instead of the normal smooth tracking of the object.  Many people who are under the influence cannot follow the object without moving their heads.

Walk and Turn – The officer will ask you to take a certain number of steps, usually 9.  He directs you to do this heel to toe and then turn and do the same amount of steps back.  This is done with your arms down by your side and looking down at your feet.  Usually, the officer will demonstrate the type of steps that he wants will ask you if you understand.  The officer is evaluating how you are balanced while you perform this test and if you have to step to the side, take to few or too many steps, and if you have to hesitate while performing the test.

Field BAC test – The Officer will request that you blow into a portable Breathalyzer.  This is not the required test that effects your license.   THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL TEST THAT CAN BE USED IN COURT; it is to determine an estimate of your B.A.C. for the officer to determine if there is a probable cause to arrest you for DUI.  You can refuse this test without it affecting your license.

Finger to Nose – the Officer will ask you to place your feet together, tilt your head back, close your eyes and then touch your nose.  The officer will be looking at your balance and any difficulty with touching your nose with your finger.

One Leg Test – The Officer will ask you to stand with their feet together and then raise one foot off the ground and start counting.  The officer will then ask you to switch feet and then start counting again.  The officer is looking for your balance and difficulty to keep counting while balancing on one foot.

If the officer believes that there is enough evidence that you are driving under the influence, you will be handcuffed, searched, and placed in the back of a patrol car.  Your vehicle will be inventoried for any illegal substances and other items in the vehicle.  If you say anything that would incriminate yourself, it can be used against you.


You will be taken to the police station, where you will be taken into a room where you will be asked to blow into a tube attached to the Draeger Alcotest 7110 MKIII, this is the official breathalyzer test that if is refused will have your licenses suspended.  If you are younger than 21 years old and your B.A.C. is over .02, than you will be charged with a DUI. Older than 21 and B.A.C. is over than .08, than you will be arrested for D.U.I.  If you refused to take the Draeger test, then you will be arrested based upon the officer’s testimony that he had probable cause that you were driving under the influence.


You will go through the booking process; they will ask you your personal information, your picture will be taken (which will be put in newspapers like Busted, Alabaster Reporter, and Shelby County Reporter.) A bond amount will be assigned to your case, and you should be allowed to make a phone call regarding being arrested.  You must tell whom you call the amount of the bond and where they need to go to post your bond.  Here is where you can find out more about the different types of bonds

You will then be placed in the jail cell or a large holding cell with other prisoners.   Typically, you will be held in jail for 12 hours or until you test B.A.C. .00, and your bond has been posted. Make sure that you find out when and where your court date is.


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