When it comes to detecting DWI, in Massachusetts there are standardized field sobriety tests police officers may rely on. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these guidelines are in place to reduce injuries, deaths and crashes caused by drivers under the influence.
In the training guidelines provided by the NHTSA, police officers are reminded that more than half of the population consider themselves drinkers, while 6.3% are heavy drinkers. The document also defines binge alcohol use, which involves having five or more drinks within a few hours of each other. Additionally, it notes that impairment may result from illicit drug use. Here are some of the signs of impairment that police officers look out for:
- Stopping in the traffic lane for no apparent reason
- Difficulty maintaining proper lane position
- Driving without headlights at night
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Speeding and reckless driving
Once an officer finds probable cause to stop a driver, they may execute a field sobriety test. This may or may not lead to a DUI charge, which Esurance warns can be costly. The insurance company warns that rivers could pay roughly $8,966 for a DUI charge.
Where does all this money go? Insurance premium increases and legal fees account for the biggest chunks at $2,700 and $2,500, respectively. Meanwhile, fines and penalties come next at $1,500. Drivers may also have to pay additional expenses related to towing or impounding, restitution and DMV reissue.
In some states, the cost of just one DUI charge could be as high as $25,000. In addition to this, drivers may face jail time or prison time. For this reason, drivers who drink should be mindful of their limit and exercise caution on the roads.