Focused On

You And Your Future

What is reasonable suspicion’s role in drunk driving stops?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | DUI |

Police officers who are patrolling the streets are usually trying to keep everyone safe. If they see something amiss, they have a duty to investigate it. For example, if they see signs of impaired driving, it is generally considered proper to initiate a traffic stop.

But, before a police officer can pull you over, they need a valid reason to do so. The standard for this is reasonable suspicion, which means that a reasonable person would agree that what an officer has seen gave them a legitimate reason to conduct a traffic stop.

What are some signs that might signal drunk driving?

There are some signs that are universally accepted as signs of impaired driving. While the officer might spot other signs, these are a few that are commonly associated with impaired driving:

  • Swerving between lanes
  • Stopping suddenly without a reason
  • Failing to stop for traffic signs and signals
  • Driving way too fast or too slow
  • Leaving headlights off when they should be on
  • Coming close to hitting objects near the road

Once the officer initiates the traffic stop, they will try to determine what’s happening with the driver. This usually starts off with a conversation and may advance to asking the driver to take a field sobriety test and a chemical test, such as a breath test.

The outcome of the officer’s investigation will determine what happens. If there’s probable cause that shows the driver is impaired, the officer will arrest them for impaired driving.

Anyone who’s arrested for drunk driving should ensure they seek legal assistance. This can help them to learn their options and have someone on their side who can work to ensure that their rights are being respected.