It’s illegal for police officers to initiate a traffic stop just because they feel like it. They must have a reason, but the standard for that reason is much lower than what’s needed for an arrest. Reasonable suspicion means that the officer saw something that led them to think that a law was being broken or that one had already been broken, and the vehicle was part of the crime.
There are many things that can lead an officer to have reasonable suspicion that meets the requirements for an impaired driving traffic stop. Some of the more common ones include:
- Braking for no reason, including stopping in the middle of the road
- Driving between more than one lane, swerving
- Failing to follow traffic signals and signs, including running through stop signs and red lights
- Driving too slow or too fast for the current road conditions
- Turning illegally or without using a turn signal
It’s also possible that the police officer will conduct the stop for another reason, such as a broken taillight and determine the driver might be impaired. Drivers who are under suspicion for being impaired will likely be asked to undergo testing to determine their impairment level. The officer may arrest the driver if those tests show probable cause the driver is impaired.
Anyone who’s facing drunk driving charges needs to remember that they should work on their defense strategy quickly after their arrest. Some aspects of the defense might be time sensitive, so it’s best not to wait too long to work on this. Instead, discuss the options with your attorney right away, so you can make the decisions you feel are in your best interests.