Police officers have a duty to keep their jurisdiction safe, but that doesn’t mean that they have free reign to do whatever they want. They still must follow the law as it applies to their position of power.
One of the specific things that they need to comply with is a person’s civil rights. An officer can’t conduct a traffic stop for no reason. Instead, they must have at least reasonable suspicion that something is amiss to stop a vehicle.
A police officer can initiate a traffic stop if they see signs that a driver is impaired. There are several things that might make them think this. Some of the more common signs of drunk driving that officers look for include:
- Crossing the center line
- Drifting between lanes
- Coming close to hitting things on the roadside
- Stopping suddenly without reason
- Driving without lights when required
- Failing to obey traffic signals or signs
- Going too fast or too slow
- Turning without a proper signal
After they initiate the traffic stop, they’ll try to find out the reason for the odd behaviors. They may conduct a field sobriety test or a roadside breath test. If there’s probable cause that points to impairment, the driver will be arrested for impaired driving. There might be other causes for these behaviors, so officers must be careful when they’re trying to determine how to handle these cases.
You should carefully consider your options for fighting a drunk driving charge. One of these might involve calling the entire traffic stop into question. Working closely with someone who’s familiar with these matters can help you to make decisions about the direction of your defense strategy.