What Do Police Officers Look For When Searching For Drunk Drivers?
The police look for approximately 20 different signs of impaired driving in addition to many other civil driving infractions when patrolling for drunk drivers.
Many police officers sit in bar parking lots. They know people leaving the bar are intoxicated, but they cannot just pull someone over based on a hunch. They need to see a traffic violation first. Many police will just wait for someone to turn out of the parking lot without signaling, have a cracked windshield, or a burnt out license plate light.
Most DUI arrests occur at night or on the weekends. Below is a list of factors, in order of probability, that police use to determine if a person is driving while impaired at night. This list is based upon research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Here are the top 20 things police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers:
- Turning with a wide radius
- Straddling the center of the lane marker
- "Appearing to be drunk"
- Almost striking an object
- Driving on other than designated highway
- Speed more than 10mph below the speed limit
- Stopping for no reason in traffic
- Following too closely
- Tires on lane marker
- Erratic Braking
- Driving into oncoming traffic
- Inconsistent signaling
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Stopping inappropriately
- Turning abruptly or illegally
- Accelerating of Decelerating rapidly
- No headlights
Something to note is that speeding is not a sign of impaired driving identified by NHTSA. However, many prosecutors argue speeding occurred because alcohol consumption diminished the person's judgment and increased their risk taking behavior. Most police officers will easily admit sober people regularly drive 10 mph over the speed limit late at night in light traffic.
If you have been stopped for DUI based on one or more of the outlined factors listed above contact Phoenix DUI Defense Attorney Aaron Back for a free case evaluation 480-729-1683.