Contrary to popular belief, police officers can’t legally initiate a traffic stop unless they have a valid reason. There isn’t a very high standard for them to pull a vehicle over. They only need to have reasonable suspicion that there is something illegal or against the traffic code going on.
In order to actually arrest someone, however, they need to have probable cause. This means that there is evidence that the person committed the crime or that the officer witnessed it themselves. Reasonable suspicion is a much lower standard than probable cause.
What would give an officer reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop?
There are may reasons why a police officer might opt to stop a driver for suspicion of drunk driving. There are some common signs of drunk driving that they look for when they’re on the road. Some of these include:
- Stopping without an apparent reason
- Failing to obey traffic signals and signs
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Driving in the dark or rain without lights on
- Moving too slowly or too quickly for weather or road conditions
- Straddling the lines on the road
Drifting near the side of the road and almost hitting objects
A person who is pulled over and subsequently arrested for drunk driving should consult with an attorney to determine what options they have for their defense strategy. This is best done as soon as possible after the arrest. As you consider the various options you have, think about how each of them would affect you now and in to the future.