What is Phase Two of OWI (DUI) Detection in Iowa? 

by DAC-LAW PLC


In phase two, the goal is to personally observe the driver. The idea is for Officer Friendly to get close enough to conduct the three "S" inquiry-- sight, smell, and sound. Do the driver's eyes look blood shot and watery? Does Officer Friendly smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage? Do they see an open container? 

Again, the intent is to elevate to the next phase. In this case, it's to get the motorist out of the car to build more evidence of insobriety sufficient to invoke implied consent and request a preliminary breath test typically following three standardized field sobriety tests. Some might argue it's a self-fulfilling prophesy but without hard statistical data on how many motorists are released after "passing" the SFSTs, it's impossible to know whether the officers frequently make false accusations or not. Of course, such data are not routinely released by law enforcement.


In any case, Phase Two of DUI detection seeks to do is to get you out of the car for Phase Three-- the latter commonly phrased as "I asked Danny Defendant to step from the vehicle" or "I asked Danny Defendant's to administer standardized field sobriety tests and he consented." All SFSTs are consensual. Refusal makes it more difficult, but not impossible, to justify invocation of implied consent and, later, arrest. Refusal of the later Datamaster DMT may, but is not required, to be used by the jury to determine the outcome of a trial.

Next time, we’ll address Phase Three—the object of Phase Two.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for OWI (DUI) in Iowa, contact DAC-LAW PLC, 305 2nd Avenue, Suite 200, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at 319-389-4276, 

https://www.cedarrapidsduilawyer.lawyer for a free initial consultation. Remember, however, that a blog is not legal advice, and that sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet does not establish an attorney client relationship.

Sight-Smell-Sound​ in phase two, Officer Friendly is listening, looking, and smelling you carefully. He or she is looking for the now-cliche "bloodshot, watery eyes," and the "slurred speech," as well as the "odor of an alcoholic beverage." In addition, they will note "fumbling" with the divided attention request for multiple license, registration, and proof of insurance documents, as well as any anger or indignation at the stop. From the 2006 NHTSA DUI training manual.

Phase Two of DUI Detection from the 2006 NHTSA DUI Detection Manual. After a traffic stop, federal authorities train law enforcement academy and other instructors on how to spot purported signs of intoxication. Some of these include "pre-screening" divided attention tests, like rapid fire requests for license, registration, and insurance-- a request for three items-- that is intended to determine the ability to divide one's attention among three separate tasks. Instructors also train patrol officers to look for open containers, to be alert for the odor of alcoholic beverages, and to note the speech patterns of a motorist during their interaction with him or her.