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When can police stop a driver for suspicion of drunk driving?

Keeping the roadways safe is one of the duties of police officers. The ones who are on patrol must be vigilant in their quest to spot drivers who are unsafe. In order to pull over a driver, they need to have reasonable suspicion that something amiss is going on. 

When it comes to drunk driving, there are certain things that law enforcement officers look for. They will initiate a traffic stop if they spot any of these. The standard for this is known as reasonable suspicion, which means that a reasonable person would have the suspicion that the driver is impaired.

What are some signs of drunk driving that officers use to justify a stop?

Some of the more common signs of impaired driving include:

  • Failing to stop at appropriate times
  • Driving slowly or erratically
  • Coming close to hitting objects near the road
  • Hitting cars or other things on the side of the road
  • Turning illegally
  • Swerving between lanes
  • Stopping for no reason at all
  • Failing to stop at traffic signs or signals

The police officer who initiates the traffic stop will try to determine what’s going on with the driver. They can use tactics like the field sobriety test and the chemical test to determine how impaired the driver is. If they determine that there’s probable cause to arrest the person for impaired driving, they’ll take them into custody.

Probable cause is a stricter standard than reasonable suspicion. There must be evidence of impaired driving or the arrest can’t take place. If you’re facing criminal charges, you must ensure that you understand your rights. Your defense strategy can include various components. In some cases, one of these might involve calling the reason for the stop into question. Working with someone who’s familiar with these cases can help you to determine how to move forward.

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