As I discussed in a prior blog, Phase 1 of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) detection involves the officer’s observations of the vehicle in motion. This blog will focus on Phase 2 of DWI detection which involves the officer’s personal observation of the driver once the officer stops the vehicle. Phase 2 involves the officer’s observations during both the stopping sequence of the vehicle as well as the face-to-face interaction between the officer and the driver.

During Phase 2 the officer is looking for such things as bloodshot eyes, difficulty producing or fumbling with the driver’s license, insurance card and registration, dirty or disheveled clothing and alcoholic beverages in the vehicle. The officer will also be looking at the driver’s facial expressions to see if they are consistent with sobriety. The officer will also note if the driver is looking at the officer as they speak or if the driver looking through the officer. The officer will be listening for slurred speech and/or admissions of drinking or drug use, inconsistent answers and abusive language or whether the motorist asks the officer to repeat questions. Other signs the officer is looking for during Phase 2 are the odor of cover-up scents such as mints, mouthwash, perfume or cologne.

While the officer will point out and report any signs of intoxication that were present when the officer observed and interacted with the motorists, the officer never identifies the dozens of signs of intoxication that were not present. That’s the job of a DWI defense attorney. A defense attorney in a DWI case should always point out all the signs of intoxication that were not present.

If you are charged with Driving While Intoxicated in New York State, you need attorneys who know not just the law but the science and procedures associated with DWI. Tilem & Campbell managing partner Peter Tilem is certified in Driving Under the Influence Detection having successfully completed an 8 course which included training in Field Sobriety Testing including the Walk-and-Turn, One Leg Stand and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. For more information about New York DWI defense, contact Tilem & Campbell toll free at 1-888-DWI-COUNSEL or visit us on the web at

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