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Why would police think a driver is impaired?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2020 | Drunk driving

Seeing the flashing lights of a police cruiser can invoke anxiety in a driver even when they’re driving safely. For a person who’s had a couple of drinks, seeing those lights might be even more frightening. When a police officer initiates a traffic stop, they’ve seen something that makes them think that there is illegal activity going on within the vehicle.

There are several clues that cops look for that signal impaired driving. These give them the reasonable suspicion they need to pull the vehicle over. Some of the signs that are commonly observed include:

  • Straddling the centerline
  • Swerving between lanes
  • Coming close to hitting roadside objects
  • Failing to obey traffic signs and signals
  • Braking frequently when it isn’t necessary
  • Forgetting to turn on headlights when conditions warrant lights
  • Driving too fast or slow for conditions

Once the officer stops the vehicle, they will try to determine what’s going on. This can include doing interviews with the driver and passengers. They may ask the driver to take a field sobriety test or a chemical test to determine what’s going on. The results of those tests should alert them if you’ve had too many drinks before you got behind the wheel.

If the officer determines you’re intoxicated, you’ll be arrested for drunk driving. You need to begin working on your defense right away because there are some aspects of it that are time sensitive. For example, you might need to deal with the administrative side of the matter that has to deal with losing your ability to drive legally in North Carolina.