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Police officers need reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2020 | Criminal Defense

When you see the flashing lights of a police cruiser behind your vehicle, you’ll probably try to figure out why they’re stopping you. This might be for something obvious, such as speeding, but that isn’t always the case. 

Police officers are trained to look for signs that a driver might not be in the proper condition to drive. There are some signs of impaired driving that officers will look for when they’re out on patrol. If they see any of these, they can initiate the traffic stop based on reasonable suspicion

What can cause an officer to initiate a traffic stop?

Generally speaking, any kind of behavior that’s unusual is likely to get an officer’s attention, but some common things that may get your vehicle stopped include:

  • Stopping without a reason in the middle of the road
  • Driving erratically or slowly
  • Almost hitting objects on the side of the road
  • Making illegal turns
  • Failing to obey the traffic signals, signs or control devices
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Driving without headlights on when it’s dark or raining

If the offer has a reasonable suspicion that something is wrong with a driver and pulls them over, they will then try to determine whether there is impairment present. This is often done by using a standardized field sobriety test or chemical test to determine if the driver meets the legal standard of impairment. 

Any driver stopped by an officer for the suspicion of drunk driving should begin to work on their defense quickly. This might include questioning the reason for the stop or what process was used to determine impairment. An experienced defender can help you better understand the charges against you and what steps you should take next to further your defense.