One of the most important parts of any DUI stop is that the police need to have a reason to stop the car prior to interacting with the driver. This typically means that they can’t know for sure that that driver is impaired. They can’t stop someone at random to check, so they need to see some other sort of driving mistake to justify the traffic stop, and then they may discover that the person is impaired from there.
It’s critical for this process to go in the right order, so the police are always looking for valid reasons to stop vehicles. They often look for signs that someone may be intoxicated, such as:
Weaving in the lane
The driver may not fully lose control of the car, but if it’s clear that they’re having trouble staying between the painted lines, they may be impaired.
Not reacting properly
When a driver doesn’t react correctly to common occurrences on the road, such as a traffic light turning green, it could be that the alcohol has slowed down their reaction times
Having a near-miss
When a car is almost involved in a crash but then the driver avoids it at the last second, police may believe the driver is impaired. An example of this could be if they drift over the centerline into oncoming traffic, but then they suddenly swerve back into the proper lane when the other driver flashes their lights.
Of course, all of these signs could also be unrelated to alcohol use. Maybe the driver is tired or distracted. But these are the types of things that the police look for, and it’s important for those who get arrested on DUI allegations to know what legal options they have.