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What is reasonable suspicion for a drunk driving stop?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Drunk Driving Charges |

Seeing the flashing lights of a police vehicle behind you can invoke fear in just about anyone. Once an officer initiates the traffic stop, the driver will learn the reason for the stop. There must be a valid reason for any traffic stop because it’s against the law for officers to stop someone just because they feel like it.

The legal standard required for an officer to initiate a traffic stop is reasonable suspicion. This means that the officer sees something that would make a reasonable person believe that the driver has broken, is breaking or is on the way to breaking the law.

What signs might make an officer think a driver is impaired?

When it comes to traffic stops because of suspected impaired driving, there are several things that officers might see that will cause them to pull the vehicle over. Some of the more common signs of drunk driving include:

  • Stopping without a reason
  • Failing to obey traffic signs or signals
  • Braking unnecessarily or erratically
  • Failing to turn on the headlights when required
  • Swerving between lanes or off the road

Once the officer initiates the traffic stop, they’ll try to determine the reason for the behavior that led to them stopping the vehicle. This often begins with them speaking to the driver. It may move forward to field sobriety tests or chemical tests if they believe the driver is impaired.

If the officer has probable cause to believe the driver is impaired, they may arrest the driver. At this point, the driver needs to consider what strategy they’ll use to address the charge. Working with someone familiar with these matters is beneficial since that individual can explain the options and help to develop a defense.

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