In order to initiate a traffic stop, police officers need to have reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed. This is a very low standard. It simply means that if the officer wants to stop a car because they think the driver is drunk, something needs to happen that would cause the average, reasonable person to think the same thing.
There are a number of signs that are synonymous with drunk driving, but many of these are also associated with other things such as medical conditions, distraction or possibly falling asleep. Some of the common signs of drunk driving include swerving, stopping suddenly, driving erratically and failing to follow traffic signals. In some cases, the officer may stop a vehicle for another reason, such as a broken light or a cracked windshield.
What happens if an officer stops a person for suspicion of drunk driving?
An officer who has reasonable suspicion that a driver is drunk will initiate a traffic stop. They will talk to the driver to determine what’s going on. If they still believe the driver is impaired, they can have them take a field sobriety test or a chemical test. Drivers can refuse these, but that comes with consequences, including the loss of their driving privileges.
Drunk driving charges need to be taken seriously, regardless of the specific circumstances. Being convicted of this charge can have a significant impact on your future, including your education and your career. It is wise to have experienced legal guidance so that you can explore your defense options and determine how best to deal with the charges.