Cues Police Officers use to detect Drunk Drivers

by Aaron Black • May 16, 2016
Police lightsIf you are pulled over for a DUI in Maricopa County the police officer must have more than just a hunch to pull you over. By law they need to see a traffic violation first. Simple violations such as pulling out of a parking lot without signaling, your tail light is out or you have a crack on your windshield are legal justifications to pull you over.

Although most DUI’s occur at night and on the weekends they can and do occur at any time. Below is a list of cues that the police use when searching for drunk drivers which is based upon research that was conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The top 20 things the Police look for to detect drunk drivers

  • Making a turn with a wide radius
  • Straddling the center of the lane marker
  • "Appearing to be drunk"
  • Coming close to striking an object
  • Weaving
  • Driving on other than designated highway
  • Swerving
  • Motorist speed is more than 10 mph below the speed limit
  • Stopping for no apparent reason in traffic
  • Following cars to closely
  • Drifting
  • Tires are riding on lane marker
  • Erratic braking
  • Driving into oncoming traffic
  • Signaling Inconsistently
  • Slow response to traffic signals
  • Stopping inappropriately 
  • Turning abruptly or illegally
  • Accelerating or Decelerating your vehicle rapidly
  • Headlights aren’t on
In regards to speeding this really isn’t a sign of impaired driving as identified by the NHTSA and most police officers admit that sober drivers regularly drive 10 mph over the speed limit late at night in light traffic. Many prosecutors however will argue that the speeding occurred because alcohol consumption had diminished the person’s judgement which increased their risk taking behavior.

As always I encourage you to plan ahead before consuming alcohol and take a taxi or get a designated driver to get you to and from your destination. If however you have been charged with a DUI in Maricopa County and you have been stopped based on one or more of the cues listed above click here to contact DUI Defense attorney Aaron Black for a free consultation or call (480)729-1683 today!

One phone call can mean the difference between jail time and the possibility of having your case dismissed.