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The 3 ways police identify drunk drivers

Police have three primary ways of detecting whether or not a driver is drunk. These methodologies, although subject to errors and mistakes, are the only way authorities have of evaluating a driver's potential state of drunkenness:

1. Witnessing unusual driving behavior: Many drunk driving arrests start with police seeing a driver acting in an unusual way. Perhaps the motorist crosses the centerline, or doesn't maintain his or her lane effectively. Or, maybe the driver forgot to turn his or her lights on, failed to stop at several stop signs or is driving on the wrong side of the road. These and other unusual driving behaviors could give authorities cause to pull a driver over to perform a more detailed investigation into the state of his or her sobriety.

2. Field sobriety evaluations: Everyone knows what these are. Whether you've been pulled over and administered a field sobriety test or not, you've heard about people being tested by an officer on the side of the road. Officers will ask drivers to watch their fingers move back and forth, to hop on one foot, to recite the alphabet backwards and to perform other tests to determine whether someone is inebriated or not. These "tasks" police ask drivers to perform are usually fairly easy for sober drivers to do, yet they're difficult for drunk drivers.

3. Chemical testing: Various tests, such as urine analysis, blood tests, breath tests and other kinds of exams may be used by police to determine the state of someone's drunkenness. The results of these tests may also be admissible in court as evidence to prove whether or not a driver was drunk.

Interestingly enough, all of the above ways of evaluating a driver's state of inebriation are subject to errors in accuracy. As such, just because you were driving erratically, failed a field sobriety test or failed a chemical test does not mean that you will ultimately be convicted. Every Athens driver will have the right to defend him or herself against a drunk driving charge.

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