In order for law enforcement officials to pull over a suspected drunk driver, they must have reasonable suspicion to make the initial traffic stop. Although committing a traffic violation such as speeding or running a red light can prompt a traffic stop, sometimes an officer has reasonable suspicion when the driver performs certain driving maneuvers that often indicate intoxication.
The following are the most common signs of intoxicated driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Difficulties maintain proper lane position – Drunk or drugged drivers typically have a hard time staying within their own driving lane or moving between lanes. Common indicators of issues maintaining proper lane position include weaving through traffic and nearly hitting other cars or fixed objects, swerving, drifting toward one side, driving close to the center line, making turns that are too wide.
- Judgment problems – Since drivers are required to continuously make various decisions behind the wheel, intoxicated drivers are not as alert. Common indicators of judgment problems include making improper or unsafe lane changes, making illegal turns, tailgating, or driving off road.
- Awareness issues – Drivers must also be vigilant to changing road conditions, which is why impaired drivers often fail to notice such conditions. Common indicators of awareness issues include delayed responses to traffic signals, driving without headlights on at night, driving the wrong way, or making stops or slowing down without a valid reason.
- Acceleration and braking problems – Intoxicated motorists experience difficulties judging distance and speed, as well as properly stopping. Common examples of speed and braking issues include driving significantly faster or slower than the posted speed limit, making jerky stops, or stopping at odd angles or well before the intersection.
As soon as you are pulled over, the police will look for other signs of intoxication, such as the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, delayed responses to questions, and poor motor skills. This will provide officers with enough probable cause to make a DUI arrest.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Birmingham, AL, contact Tidwell Law Group, LLC today at (205) 536-7770 and schedule a free consultation.