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Drunk driving: Reasonable suspicion matters

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2023 | Criminal defense

Police officers have a lot of duties to do while they’re out on patrol. One of these is to stop drunk drivers before they can cause a crash that leads to injuries or death. In order to do this, they must initiate a traffic stop if a driver is showing signs of impairment.

The standard that they have to meet to conduct a traffic stop for impaired driving is reasonable suspicion. This means the driver is doing something that a reasonable person would believe points to them being impaired.

What are some signs of impaired driving?

There are many signs of impaired driving. These include things like driving on the wrong side of the road or swerving between lanes. Stopping suddenly or failing to obey traffic signals and signs can also lead to a traffic stop.

In some cases, the officer will come into contact with you without any of those signs. They’ll likely show up if you’re in a crash. Some will stop you if you have other things wrong with your vehicle, such as a burned-out headlight or a crack across the windshield that impairs your line of sight.

What happens after the officer stops you?

Once the officer stops the vehicle, they’ll try to determine what’s going on. They may ask for a field sobriety test or a roadside breath test to do this. If they find probable cause that you’re drunk, they’ll arrest you.

Facing drunk driving charges means you need to consider your defense strategy quickly. Some options might be time-sensitive so be sure you review them quickly. Working with someone familiar with these matters may help you determine how to proceed.