Understanding the Mental Status Exam in New York

If you’re pulled over for a DWI, it is important to understand that law enforcement officers will perform a Mental Status Exam (MSE) to assess your current state of mind. This assessment is used to observe and describe your appearance and actions at the time of your DWI stop. Here is a brief look at what the MSE entails.

First, law enforcement officers will assess your appearance. They will be observing your clothing, grooming, hygiene, etc., paying special attention to whether you have an odor, are disheveled, and even whether you have been rolling around on the ground.

Second, the officers will note your attitude. Being polite, cooperative, and respectful will make more of a difference in their initial assessment than if you are rude, belligerent, angry, and combative. The officers will also determine your mood and affect, deciding whether this is normal or if you are acting euphoric, dysphoric, angry, apathetic, etc.

Next, your speech is taken into consideration. The officers are not assessing the content of your speech, rather, the production thereof. They will be looking at:

  • Rate
  • Flow
  • Intensity/Volume
  • Clarity
  • Liveliness
  • Quantity

If you speak too fast or too slow, pause a lot, are inaudible, speak monotonously, or act unresponsive or offer limited responses, this will reflect that you are most likely driving under the influence.

Law Enforcement will also be looking at your thought process and pattern in an attempt to determine your current clarity, coherence, relevance, logic, and flow. Then, they will assess the content of your thought process to determine whether or not your responses to their questions are both sensible and approachable. They will also look at your perception to determine any disturbances, including hallucinations, pseudo hallucinations, and illusions.

Finally, police officers will be concerned with your insight and judgment. They will want to determine if you are able to understand and follow through with thoughts, patterns, etc., and will be looking for your active participation and anticipation. They will also be determining if you are capable of making sound, reasonable, and responsible decisions.

Knowing the details of the MSE does not mean you will necessarily be able to avoid an Albany DWI arrest. However, it’s still a good idea to know what to expect or to have the information as a guideline when preparing your defense.

DWI Attorneys
If you’ve been charged with a DWI, contact the experienced defense attorneys at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today for a free and confidential case evaluation. Call: 877-435-7394

The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 269 W. Jefferson St.; Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: (315) 473-0899. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.

2015-07-06T19:27:25+00:00