Police officers have a duty to try to keep the roads safe. This means that all that a police officer needs to initiate a traffic stop is reasonable suspicion, which isn’t a very high standard.
In order to meet the standard for reasonable suspicion, the officer only has to see something that they believe is a violation of the law. This means that they might observe a behavior that’s usually associated with impairment and opt to initiate a traffic stop.
What behaviors are common signs of drunk driving?
There are many actions that could signal to an officer that a driver may be intoxicated or otherwise impaired. Some of the more common ones include:
- Making an illegal turn
- Braking frequently and without reason
- Driving erratically or slowly
- Hitting or nearly hitting roadside objects
- Drifting between lanes
Police officers might also initiate a traffic stop because of other things, such as broken or malfunctioning lights and other things that violate the law. Regardless of the reason, a police officer who stops a vehicle and finds that the driver might be impaired will likely ask the driver to take a chemical test or do a field sobriety test. These can help the officer to determine what’s going on.
An officer who has probable cause, which means there is evidence to suggest that a person committed a crime, can arrest the driver. Any driver who’s accused of drunk driving should ensure that they protect their rights as quickly as possible. There are some options that have time limits in these cases. An experienced attorney can help.