Updated on February 3rd, 2021 at 10:49 pm

Wisconsin police officers are trained to look for certain cues to indicate a person’s level of intoxication.  These cues also provide insight as to how much alcohol a person consumes.  Typical signs of intoxication are slowed reactions, increased risk taking, impaired vision, and poor coordination.

Common Signs of Alcohol Influence

The training of a Wisconsin officer allows them to make an “informed decision” of how many drinks a person had based on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).  Officers are taught a BAC of .03% causes a person to have slowed reaction.  This is also the typical BAC of a person who has consumed one to two drinks.  A person with a BAC of .05% will exhibit increased risk taking, which includes behavior being the only person on the dance floor or looking to start a fight.  Vision is impaired at a BAC of .08%, and a person has poor coordination with a BAC of .10%.

Visual Cues Observed by Police Officer Prior to Stop

Problems Maintaining Lane Position

If a person is unable to maintain proper lane position, there is a 50-75% chance of arrest for drunk driving.  This includes weaving, weaving across center lane lines, straddling a line, swerving, turning with a wide radius, drifting, almost striking an object or another vehicle.

Speed and Braking Problems

A Wisconsin officer has a 45-70% chance of charging a driver with a Wisconsin DUI if they observe stopping problems (i.e. too far past the stop line, too short, or jerkiness), accelerating and decelerating rapidly, varying speeds, and slow speeds of 10 mph or more under the speed limit.

Vigilance Problems

Driving in the opposite lane or the wrong way down a one-way street has the probability of a driver being under the influence of alcohol between 55-65%.  A person may also exhibit slow responses to changing traffic signals, slow response or failure to respond to an officer’s signals, stopping in a lane for no apparent reason, driving without headlights at night and failure to signal or signal inconsistent with action.

 Judgment Problems

There is a 35-90% chance of being arrested for drunk driving by following too close to another vehicle, improper or unsafe lane change, illegal or improper turn (i.e. too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.), driving other than on designated roadway (i.e. going straight through a turn only lane), stopping inappropriately in response to officer (i.e. not pulling to the side of the road), and inappropriate or unusual behavior (i.e. throwing objects, arguing, etc.).  An officer may also observe impairment by the way the driver is positioned inside the vehicle (i.e. tightly gripping the steering wheel, slouching in seat, face close to windshield, etc.).

Visual Cues Observed After the Stop

After a Wisconsin officer stops a vehicle exhibiting the above actions, there is an 85-100% arrest for drunk driving if the driver exhibits difficulty with the motor controls of the vehicle (i.e. putting it is park, turning the vehicle off, removing the key, etc.) and difficulty exiting the vehicle.  A driver under the influence of alcohol will have trouble getting his license and registration for the officer, will repeat phrases the officer says before answering or will have a slow response.  These responses may give false or incorrect information and may change his answers. The driver will have problems balancing and may need the support of the vehicle or another object to stand.

Hire an Experienced Wisconsin DUI Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a Wisconsin DUI, contact Attorney Nathan J. Dineen of Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. at 1-800-805-1976 or complete a Free DUI Case Review.  Attorney Dineen has the knowledge, experience, and training to best defend his clients.  He is a Top-Rated Wisconsin DUI Defense Attorney and certified instructor for Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and a Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE).