Anyone who’s had a couple of drinks and then sees the flashing lights of a police vehicle behind them knows what an uneasy feeling it causes. Some may wonder when police officers can conduct traffic stops for possible driving while intoxicated or DWI.
To initiate a traffic stop, police officers must have a valid reason. This can be something as simple as seeing a brake light out. When they don’t see a crime being committed, they have to have reasonable suspicion to believe there’s criminal activity.
What does reasonable suspicion mean?
Reasonable suspicion means that the officer saw something that a reasonable person would consider a sign of drunk driving or any other crime.
Once the officer conducts the traffic stop, they will try to determine what’s going on. An arrest is possible if that investigation unearths probable cause for a drunk driving charge.
What are some examples of reasonable suspicion in a drunk driving case?
Any behavior associated with drunk driving can be reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop. These include things like:
- Stopping without cause
- Running stop signs or red lights
- Straddling the center line or swerving between lanes
- Driving erratically
- Making illegal turns or failing to use a turn signal
- Almost hitting things that are on the side of the road
Exploring all options available for a drunk driving defense is critical, but you must do this quickly. Having someone on your side who can help you evaluate those options might make it easier to make a decision that’s in your best interests.