What to expect during a DUI traffic stop

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2020 | criminal defense

Perhaps your plans for the season include hanging out with a few friends for some drinks or chilling by yourself with a glass or two of your favorite vino, regardless of how many or the type of alcoholic beverages you have, at some point you may find yourself behind the steering wheel. To mitigate the time, embarrassment, fear and anger you may feel if law enforcement apprehends you at a DUI checkpoint or traffic stop, make sure you know what to expect. 

Read on to learn more about what happens during a DUI traffic stop. 

Probable cause must exist

Remember, to initially stop you, an officer only needs probable cause, such as erratic driving behavior, running a red light, speeding, breaking a traffic law, etc. However, if law enforcement suspects that a driver is under influence of an impairing substance, he or she can use any signs of inebriation as evidence of probable cause. 

Arrest is not automatic

The officer must determine a motorist’s sobriety by assessing their responses, judgment and reaction times. Signs of potential intoxication include slow and slurred speech, red eyes, trouble focusing, stumbling and reeking of alcohol. Police officers may also suspect a motorist is drunk or experiencing the side effects of alcohol intoxication if there are open alcoholic beverage containers or other illegal substances in plain view inside of the vehicle. An arrest can occur once the officer has enough evidence to support a DUI charge. However, most DUI stop arrests also include motorists failing the field sobriety tests. 

If you ever find yourself at a DUI traffic stop, do not make assumptions about how an officer will treat you or if they follow proper protocol. Try to keep your feelings in check, pay attention to everything and comply.