The police cannot randomly stop your car and give you a breath test in most cases. They have to see you driving, determine a valid reason for the stop, and proceed from there.
Sometimes, they make the stop for a non-impairment issue. For instance, you may have been speeding, but the officer may not think you’re intoxicated until they talk to you. In other cases, they spot signs of impairment right from the beginning.
Reasons the police can pull you over for suspected drunk driving
To help you understand how a traffic stop occurs and whether or not the police actually had a valid reason to stop you — if they didn’t, it could mean evidence of impairment was illegal obtained — take a look at some of the following signs they look for:
- Your speed is erratic, with a lot of slowing down and speeding up.
- You do not use your signals or you signal one way and turn the other.
- It’s dark out, but they see you driving with your headlights off.
- You make very wide turns and slow maneuvers, almost as if you’re nervous to crash.
- You don’t react quickly to things around you, like a light turning green.
- You sit with your face too close to the windshield.
- You swerve back and forth on the road, drifting off of the shoulder or into the oncoming lanes.
Essentially, it just looks like you’re not fully in control of the car, and the officer suspects that intoxication is the reason.
What to do after a drunk driving arrest
If you do get arrested, whether you think the police had a valid reason to stop you or not, it is critical that you look into all of your legal defense options to fight the charges, get them reduced or proceed through the legal process in another manner.