The holiday season is here, which means that there will be parties everywhere. It is imperative that anyone who is going to go out and consume alcohol takes steps to ensure they are able to make it home safely. This means not driving themselves to the party since drunk driving is illegal and can lead to criminal charges.
One thing to remember is that you don't have to do something illegal to get pulled over. The standard for a drunk driving stop is actually very low. The offer only has to have reasonable suspicion to believe that you've done something illegal.
There are many signs of impaired driving that officers look for when they are out on patrol. These all point to the fact that the driver might not be in the condition to drive safely. Any of these are reasons why the officer can pull you over. Here are a few that might signal impairment:
- Frequent braking
- Driving too slowly or too fast
- Straddling the center line
- Drifting between lanes or across the center lane
- Stopping suddenly for no reason
Once you have been pulled over, the police officer will need probable cause prior to arresting you. This is a much stricter standard than reasonable suspicion. Probable cause means that there is evidence that points to the likelihood of a crime being committed. In the case of impaired driving, this is often due to the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) result that's obtained through a breath, blood or urine sample.
The reason for the traffic stop might come into the picture if you are facing charges for drunk driving. If the cause was something like a missing headlight, this likely won't be something to call into question during your defense.