Police officers who are on patrol will usually watch the vehicles that travel around them very closely. They are often looking for signs that something is amiss with the driver that might lead to individuals being harmed or property being damaged.
But what makes a police officer suspect that a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol? Here’s what every driver should know.
Reasonable suspicion versus probable cause
Reasonable suspicion is a standard that’s considerably lower than probable cause. If an officer sees something that gives them a reason to believe that there’s a law being broken, they can initiate a traffic stop. Whatever led to the traffic stop has to be something that a reasonable person would agree seemed to indicate an issue.
In the case, of a suspected impaired driver, some of the reasons an officer might opt to pull you over include:
- Speeding or driving way too slowly
- Driving erratically
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Straddling the lane lines or centerline
- Braking without reason
- Drifting out of a driving lane
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Turning illegally
- Coming close to hitting roadside objects
If you’re pulled over and the officer believes that you’re drunk, you’ll likely be asked to take a chemical test or do a field sobriety test. These can provide the officer with the proof they need to arrest you. In order to conduct a rest, they must have probable cause. This means that there is proof that they broke a law.
Anyone who’s arrested for drunk driving should learn their legal options quickly. This is best done quickly since there might be time limits on certain options. Your lawyer can discuss these with you and help you plan a defense strategy.