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When can police make a suspected DUI traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Nothing can ruin an enjoyable evening out like seeing the flashing lights of a law enforcement vehicle in your rearview mirror. When you see the flashing lights, you know you must pull over, but you may not be sure what to do to protect yourself against whatever comes next. It may be helpful for you to learn about when police have a valid reason to make a suspected DUI traffic stop and what you can do if you experienced a violation of your rights. 

A police officer cannot make a suspected DUI traffic stop simply because he or she wants to. The driver must be exhibiting certain behaviors before a police officer can detain a driver. This is reasonable suspicion, and without it, a traffic stop is invalid. If there were no grounds for the original traffic stop, it could compromise the entire DUI case if the officer ultimately arrests the driver. 

Behaviors that may indicate intoxication 

There are times when police may notice drivers exhibiting certain behaviors that could indicate intoxication. When they see these types of behaviors, it could give them reasonable suspicion that a criminal activity is taking place. This gives them a valid reason to stop a driver to question him or her. Some of the common actions that often lead to suspected DUI traffic stops include: 

  • Drifting from lane to lane 
  • Straddling the center line 
  • Nearly striking the center line or hitting stationary objects 
  • Frequent braking 
  • Driving erratically 
  • Driving too slowly and then speeding up suddenly 
  • Failing to stop at an intersection or properly yield 

After making a suspected DUI traffic stop, law enforcement will approach the vehicle to question the driver to determine his or her level of intoxication. The officer may ask the driver to submit to sobriety tests, and if he or she fails, the officer may request a breath test.  

Your drunk driving defense 

When facing drunk driving charges, you have the right to defend yourself. After an arrest, it will be helpful to seek an understanding of the defense options available to you. With a properly prepared strategy, you will be able to effectively confront the charges against you, possibly avoiding a conviction or mitigating the penalties you are up against. With your future at stake, you may benefit from taking quick action after your arrest to determine what steps you should take next.