Police officers generally need a reason to stop any vehicle. They’re not permitted to make random searches as they seek out drunk drivers, for instance, simply, giving numerous drivers breath tests until they find someone who is over the legal limit. They need to have a reason to stop the vehicle prior to that breath test.
As a result, the police are often looking for things that could be indicators of impairment. These can be very simple, such as failing to use a turn signal, or very serious, such as causing a car accident. It’s important to know what signs police officers look for and how things are supposed to proceed during a traffic stop — if the police make an illegal stop, after all, that could invalidate some of their evidence.
10 common signs
To start with, below are ten signs that police look for that may indicate impairment:
- Breaking the speed limit
- Driving much too slow for no reason
- Driving without headlights in the dark
- Swerving back and forth in the lane
- Driving with the wheels on either side of the centerline
- Making sloppy maneuvers, such as extra-wide turns
- Not reacting properly to traffic signals
- Being involved in a near miss
- Not turning off the high beams
- Making illegal maneuvers, such as driving the wrong way on the interstate
Remember, even if the police do see some of these signs and indicators, they are not proof of impairment on their own. But they can be reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop, which may then lead to an arrest. If you have been arrested, you need to know exactly what legal defense options you have.