One of the most important parts of a drunk driving arrest is simply that the police need to have a reason to stop the car in the first place. Without this stipulation, officers may be tempted to pull over random vehicles in their search for impaired drivers. But they need to have a valid reason to stop the car before they administer a breath test or field sobriety test. These random stops are not permitted for officers who are on patrol.
But what signs are police officers going to look for? There are quite a lot for them to choose from.
Differences in the way someone drives
First and foremost, they’re going to look for common symptoms of impairment to show up in the way someone drives. These can include things like:
- Driving in the wrong lane or straddling the center line
- Accelerating too slowly or too quickly
- Stopping for no reason
- Making extra wide turns
- Being involved in a near-miss scenario that almost creates an accident
- Weaving or drifting back and forth in the lane
- Not responding properly to traffic signals, like a green light
But it’s also important to note that police officers can pull drivers over for issues with their cars. Maybe someone is driving at night with their headlights off. Maybe that person has a broken headlight or something obstructing their vision. If the police see any minor violation, that’s enough for them to stop the car and at least have a discussion with the driver.
But it is important that the police have a reason for the stop, or they could be violating a person’s rights. Those who have been arrested need to know exactly what legal steps to take.