Police officers have to try to keep the roads safe for everyone. Drunk drivers are a public safety hazard, so officers need to try to keep these individuals off the roads. One way to do this is to pull people over if they are suspected of driving drunk.
When it comes to initiating a traffic stop for suspected drunk driving, the police officer only needs to have reasonable suspicion that something is wrong with the motorist. There are several signs that point to an impaired driver. Some of these include:
- Swerving between lanes
- Straddling the center line
- Making illegal turns
- Braking frequently
- Driving too slow or too fast
- Almost hitting things along the roadway
- Stopping without a good reason
- Failing to follow traffic laws
The standard of reasonable suspicion is much lower than that for probable cause. The officer would need to have probable cause to believe you were driving drunk if they are going to arrest you for DUI. In order to meet this standard, the officer has to have evidence that indicates that you were likely driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit.
It is sometimes possible for defendants in these cases to use reasonable suspicion or probable cause (usually the lack thereof) as part of a defense strategy. This usually won't be the comprehensive defense, but it can be a vital part of it. You have to think very carefully about each point that you might be able to use so that you and your attorney can develop the strategy that best suits your situation.