Police officers have a duty to keep the streets as safe as they can. Making sure that they don’t have any unsafe drivers around is one way they can do this. While they’re out on patrol, they’ll look for signs of drunk driving.
In order to conduct a drunk driving traffic stop, the officer needs to have reasonable suspicion that there’s a law being broken or that one has been broken. This is much less strict than probable cause, which is the standard required to arrest someone.
What are some signs police officers look for?
Officers are trained to look for some very specific behaviors that are associated with drunk driving. While there are many that can occur, some of the more common include:
- Braking frequently or without cause
- Driving too slowly
- Turning without a signal
- Swerving between lanes
- Driving erratically
- Hitting roadside objects or almost hitting them
Sometimes, drunk driving charges stem from other events. One of these is if an accident occurs. Drivers are usually evaluated if they have any signs of impairment after the crash.
Cops may also initiate a traffic stop for another reason, such as a broken taillight, and then recognize signs of impairment when they make contact with the driver. The signal might be the driver’s behavior or potentially the smell of alcohol.
What happens when they stop the vehicle?
Once they stop the vehicle, the police officer will try to determine what’s going on. They’ll likely talk to the driver, but drivers in these situations should remember they have constitutional rights. The officer may also ask the driver to go through a field sobriety test and take a chemical test.
Anyone who’s facing drunk driving charges should ensure they know what options they have for a defense strategy. Doing this early in the case is important because you need time to consider how these options will impact your future. If you work with someone familiar with these matters, you’ll be able to draw from their knowledge as you consider how to proceed.