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What signs of impairment do police look for?

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | DUI/DWI

Generally speaking, police officers look for signs of impairment when making a traffic stop or arresting someone for drunk driving. They don’t simply give drivers a random breath test to measure their BAC. They need a reason to believe the driver could be impaired first.

But what signs do they look for? Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Driving signs

There are many different mistakes that drivers make that indicate that could be impaired. An example of this could be driving without their headlights on at night or failing to signal before making a turn. Police officers will also look for drivers who are swerving within their lane, driving the wrong way on one-way streets or perhaps straddling the center line.

Additionally, they may simply see that the driver isn’t reacting appropriately to traffic conditions around them. Maybe other cars begin moving forward at a green light, for instance, but the impaired driver has a delayed reaction.

Physical signs

In some cases, police officers will pull drivers over for a minor infraction, without any idea that the driver is impaired, but then they could see physical signs. Maybe the car smells like alcohol, or perhaps the driver has bloodshot eyes.

The driver could also struggle to find the right words or slur their speech. Any sign of cognitive impairment could be enough for a police officer to ask a driver to do field sobriety tests.

What are your options?

Have you been arrested on allegations of impaired driving? If so, it’s very important that you understand all of your legal defense options, as the ramifications can be quite severe.