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What is reasonable suspicion?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | DUI |

Police officers often initiate traffic stops if they see a person breaking the law or driving in an unsafe manner. They can’t do this just because they have a hunch that something is amiss. Instead, they need at least reasonable suspicion that the situation warrants a traffic stop. 

Reasonable suspicion means that any reasonable person who saw the things the officer saw would come to the conclusion that a traffic stop was necessary. This principle is sometimes at the heart of a drunk driving case. 

What’s considered reasonable suspicion for drunk driving?

Besides the same reasons for other traffic stops, such as violating traffic laws or having an issue like a burned-out brake light, there are other signs that an officer might notice that could result in a traffic stop for suspected drunk driving. 

  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Driving in the middle of the road
  • Swerving between lanes
  • Braking frequently
  • Driving too slow or too fast for road conditions
  • Stopping without a valid reason

It’s possible that the officer will see other signs of impaired driving and stop the vehicle. Once they initiate the traffic stop, they’ll use things like interviewing the driver, chemical tests or field sobriety tests to determine if the driver is impaired. If there’s probable cause to believe the driver is intoxicated, they’ll arrest the person. 

Fighting a drunk driving charge can be a challenge. These defendants should ensure they have someone on their side who can help them determine the defense strategy they should use and explore any other options that might be possible.