Many people wonder exactly what causes a police officer to initiate a traffic stop. There are many answers to this. In some cases, they see something, such as a broken brake light, that violates traffic laws or codes. In other cases, they may spot a sign that there’s likely something illegal going on.
In order to initiate a traffic stop, the police officer only needs reasonable suspicion that there’s something amiss with the vehicle. This means that they see something that would cause any other reasonable person to draw the same conclusion they did.
What is reasonable suspicion in a drunk driving stop?
There are a few signs that drivers are intoxicated that police officers can watch for. Some of these include:
- Drifting between lanes
- Hitting or almost hitting things on the side of the road
- Stopping without a reason
- Failing to use turn signals
- Driving through stop signs or red lights
If the officer conducts a traffic stop, they’ll try to determine if the driver is legally impaired. This can include a field sobriety test or a chemical test. The officer can arrest the person if there’s evidence that they’re intoxicated, such as a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or above.
Anyone who’s facing a drunk driving charge must ensure they understand their legal options right away. Some of these options are time-sensitive, so you have to take advantage of them quickly if you want to use them. Ideally, you’ll find someone who’s familiar with cases like yours to work with you so that you know you’re being given the information you need to make decisions you feel are in your best interests.