Utah DUI Procedures – Investigative Detentions

Salt Lake DUI Law Firm Explains the Investigative Detention

The Fourth Amendment of the United States protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures.  Over the course of time the Fourth Amendment has been interpreted to permit three different levels of police-citizen encounters also known as police “stops.”  Level 1 permits an officer to approach a citizen at any time and question him as long as the citizen is not detained against his will.  Level 2 permits an officer to seize a person if the officer has an articulable suspicion that the person has committed or is about to commit a crime.  Level 3 allows an officer to arrest a suspect if the officer has probable cause to believe an offense had been committed or is being committed.  State v. Wormwood, 164 P.3d 397 (Utah 2007).

A Level 2 Stop is also known as an investigative detention and in Utah DUI cases police conduct Level 2 Stops all of the time.  In fact, the Level 2 Stop is the primary manner in which Utah Highway Patrol, sheriffs, and police officers are able to stop a DUI suspect.  A Level 2 Stop permits a police officer to stop a vehicle for the slightest infraction such as having a brake light out, not turning on your headlights, speeding, not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, etc.  That is all law enforcement needs to make the initial stop.

Reasonable Suspicion Required to Investigate DUI

Once the stop is made law enforcement must have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence in order to conduct an investigation through Field Sobriety Tests and a breath test.  Reasonable suspicion is easily met.  The police officer need only smell the odor of alcohol coming from the driver, recognize slurred speech, see blood shot/glassy eyes, etc.  A totality of the circumstances determines whether there is reasonable suspicion but in most Utah DUI cases if the officer reports a combination of odor, slurred speech, and blood shot/glassy eyes the courts tend to find that there was reasonable suspicion of DUI.

Investigation – Field Sobriety Test

If the officer can show reasonable suspicion of DUI he can request the driver to take field sobriety test.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CONSENT TO TAKE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS.  It is your legal right to refuse a field sobriety test.  You do, however, have to take a portable breath test if the officer requests that you take one after reasonable suspicion has been established.  If you refuse the breath test there are serious consequences including losing your driver’s license for a long time.

Utah DUI Defense Lawyers

Police must follow very specific procedures in investigating a DUI.  If you have been charged with a DUI in Salt Lake, Provo, or Ogden, call Salcido Law Firm PLLC and Get Protected!.  Our experienced DUI lawyers will defend your rights to ensure the law enforcement agency that arrested you does not get away with anything.

Call us anytime for a free consultation.  801.413.1753.

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