What are potential signs of drunk driving?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | criminal defense |

Before a traffic stop, police officers need to have a lawful reason to stop a vehicle. An officer cannot conduct stops at random, for instance, administering breath tests to see if they can find an impaired driver by mere chance. The officer needs a valid reason to stop a vehicle and then proceed with an investigation – questioning, field sobriety tests, breath tests, etc. – after having made a stop legally.

What are the police looking for? What are some common signs of impaired driving that may lead to such a stop and possibly an arrest?

10 top signs of impaired driving

There are several signs that may indicate someone is driving while impaired. Some common signs include:

  1. Weaving or swerving: A driver may have difficulty staying within their lane, weaving between lanes or making sudden or abrupt movements.
  2. Speeding or driving too slowly: Impaired drivers might either drive much faster or slower than the posted speed limit without reason.
  3. Delayed response to traffic signals: They might react slowly to traffic lights, stop signs or other signals on the road.
  4. Tailgating or following too closely: Impaired drivers might follow other vehicles too closely, not maintaining a safe distance.
  5. Erratic braking or stopping: Abrupt stops, overly cautious braking or stopping inappropriately are common signs.
  6. Straddling the center lane: Driving with the vehicle positioned in the middle of two lanes or moving between lanes without signaling.
  7. Driving at night without headlights: Forgetting to turn on headlights at night or keeping high beams on, which can blind other drivers.
  8. Inconsistent signaling: Not using turn signals correctly or forgetting to use them when changing lanes or turning.
  9. Erratic behavior or aggression: Aggressive behavior, road rage incidents or unusual behavior at traffic stops or intersections.
  10. Excessive use of the horn: Repeated or unnecessary honking may indicate impaired driving.

Of course, these signs alone do not prove someone is impaired. They could be entirely sober and such driving mistakes could have another cause. But, if they occur, they may give officers a legitimate excuse to engage in a stop.

It is important for those who face arrest to know what legal defense options they have available to them. This is especially true if they believe their arrest may have only happened after an illegal traffic stop or if there were other issues with how the police conducted their investigation. Seeking legal guidance promptly is, therefore, generally very wise.

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