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Reasons officers might conduct a drunk driving traffic stop

Police officers have a duty to try to keep the streets safe. Spotting drunk drivers and getting them off the road is one way they can do this. In order to conduct a traffic stop for the suspicion of drunk driving, the officer has to have reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver is impaired.

There are several signs that they might look for when they are patrolling. Typically, a driver who is intoxicated will exhibit at least one of the following signs:

  • Swerving or drifting between lanes
  • Braking frequently and erratically
  • Driving on the centerline
  • Making illegal turns
  • Driving very slowly
  • Almost hitting other cars or objects on the side of the road

If the officer notices any of those signs, the motorist will likely be stopped, so the officer can determine whether the person is intoxicated. This can be done by using a breath test or a standardized field sobriety test. Drivers should know their rights regarding these, as well as the penalties that are possible for refusing to do them.

There are times when an officer might evaluate a driver for impairment even if they didn't witness any signs of impaired driving. Anything that is wrong with a vehicle, such as a burned out light and other traffic violations, can lead to a traffic stop. Accidents can also result in an officer trying to determine whether a driver is drunk.

Anyone who is facing drunk driving charges needs to think about what caused the officer to think that they were impaired. Going step by step from that point might help them find focal points for their defense case.

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