What Is Indicia of Intoxication in an Oklahoma DUI Case?

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In order to lawfully conduct a roadside DUI investigation, Oklahoma law enforcement officers need reasonable suspicion that you are impaired or intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle. When establishing reasonable suspicion, officers often point to “indicia” or indications of intoxication.

What Is Considered Indicia of Intoxication?

In almost every DUI case, we see officers point to the same general symptoms of drunkenness:

  • Slurred speech
  • Red, bloodshot and/or glossy eyes
  • Odor of alcohol
  • Poor balance

If the officer observed some driving behavior such as weaving in and out of a lane, he or she may also cite this as indicia of intoxication. Additionally, if you participate in any field sobriety tests at the officer’s request, he or she may note unsteadiness on your feet or trouble keeping your balance as indications of impairment.

Challenging Indicia of Intoxication

There are many ways to challenge the indicia of intoxication cited by the officer. For instance, there are many reasons why a person’s eyes may be red and glossy, and simply smelling an odor of alcohol does not prove impairment. The road surface and type of shoe worn can affect a person’s ability to walk correctly or perform roadside gymnastics test.

Additionally, the footage from an officer’s body camera or the police vehicle’s dashboard camera may contradict the officer’s testimony with regard to your speech and coordination. If the judge or jury can hear you speaking clearly and observe you performing tasks and/or walking with the balance and coordination of a sober person, then the supposed indicia of intoxication may lose credibility.

Our attorneys are trained in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and we have several SFST instructors on staff. Our full time, on-staff DUI investigator reviews all videos, noting where and when the officer deviated from the standardized instructions that are to be followed.

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