As a general rule, police officers cannot stop motorists on suspicion of driving under the influence just because they feel like it. To be able to do so legally, they must have reasonable suspicion for DUI.
Law enforcement officers look for signs that a motorist is driving impaired. Once they spot any indicator, they’ll have the reasonable suspicion they need to make a DUI stop.
When they start conversations with the driver, police will continue looking for signs that will give them enough reason to suspect that the person is either driving drunk or committing a DUI for drugged driving.
So, what are these things that give police officers reasonable suspicion for DUI?
Driving above the speed limit will get the attention of any cop, whether you’re driving drunk or not. Police will give chase, stop you, and issue a ticket, as well as check if you are driving under the influence.
Speeding is already a sign of aggressive driving. Merging in and out of lanes quickly without checking for other vehicles, tailgating, and yelling at other motorists while at full speed are also indicators that the person behind the wheel is driving aggressively.
At the other end of the spectrum are people who drive very slowly. Some drivers with alcohol in their systems may resort to driving at extremely low speeds in an effort to avoid getting involved in an accident. Unfortunately for them, police officers are likely to notice cars that drive so slowly that they’re holding up traffic.
Ignoring Traffic Rules
Police will also suspect a driver of DUI when they see a blatant disregard of traffic rules, like running through red lights, ignoring stop signs, making illegal U-turns, or refusing or failing to yield to other vehicles.
Drunk drivers typically swerve from time to time, step on the brakes repeatedly, get too close to other vehicles or objects by the roadside, and stop in the middle of the road for no apparent reason. Vigilant cops will likely interpret these as signs that the driver is drunk and will promptly pull the vehicle over.
Physical And Behavioral Signs
When police officers make a DUI stop, they will ask drivers to roll the window down and start interacting with them.
While doing so, law enforcement officers will observe whether the eyes of the driver are watery or bloodshot, the face is flush, and if he or she reeks of alcohol.
Police will also be on the lookout for any slurring in the driver’s speech, as it’s a clear indicator of drunkenness.
If the driver doesn’t appear or smell drunk, but is showing signs of impairment, police will likely check for physical signs of drug use. Excessive sweating, dilated pupils, and a coated tongue can give drug-impaired drivers away. Some may even have drug residue on their nostrils or skin.
The conversations police strike with suspected drunk drivers also yield results. Aside from slurred speech, drunk drivers also tend not to make much sense when talking. It’s also common for them to give delayed responses to queries. There are also cases where drivers are so drunk they readily admit that they are, indeed, drunk, and incriminate themselves in the process.
Once they have confirmed their suspicions, police will then proceed to find probable cause for a DUI arrest by administering breath and field sobriety tests. If they suspect a DUI for drugged driving, they can conduct swab tests that detect traces of substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.
Many people end up getting arrested for DUI because of the things listed above. In any case, always seek the help of an experienced DUI attorney should you find yourself facing DUI charges. Your arresting officer may have fulfilled the reasonable suspicion and probable cause requirements to arrest you for DUI, but a skilled DUI lawyer can, among other things, question the legality of your arrest.
With their extensive experience in handling drunk driving cases, DUI attorneys are your best hope of getting the best possible result for your DUI case.