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How do the police spot potentially drunk drivers?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2023 | Criminal Law |

Motorists encounter a wide range of hazards on the road. However, one of the most serious, yet common, hazards in an intoxicated motorist. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of car wrecks as well as life-altering injuries. This explains why drunk driving is a serious offence throughout the U.S.

However, law enforcement cannot stop a driver for a drunk driving investigation on flimsy grounds. If they do, any evidence obtained therein can be challenged in court. Instead, they must have probable cause that the driver in question could be intoxicated to warrant and stop for a DUI investigation. So what is probable cause and how does law enforcement establish it during a DUI stop?

Understanding probable cause

Probable cause is a legal requirement that must be satisfied before law enforcement can stop a suspect, search and seize property, make an arrest or obtain a warrant. In the context of drunk driving, the police must have sufficient reason to believe that a motorist has committed a traffic offence or is in the process of committing one. 

Here are three driver behaviours that can give the police reason to stop a motorist for a DUI investigation:

Swerving between lanes

Alcohol compromises a motorist’s ability to remain attentive while driving. As such, it is not uncommon for a drunk motorist to doze off and swerve into an adjacent lane or oncoming traffic. 

Randomly slowing down and speeding up

When a driver is slowing down and speeding up, even when there is no vehicle in front of them, then this can be a sign that they are not in full control of their faculties. 

Driving with the lights off

During the night, every driver must turn their headlights on. This is just common sense. However, it is not uncommon for an intoxicated driver to forget to do this.

So what if you are under investigation for drunk driving?

If you find yourself being investigated for drunk driving, you need to know your defence options. A conviction for drunk driving can impact your life in a variety of ways, and you do not want this to happen. Find out how you can defend yourself and safeguard your rights when facing a potential DUI charge.

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