Contrary to what many people believe, a law enforcement officer is not legally allowed to pull over a motorist without a reason. In other words, random traffic stops are not legal. What are legal, however, are stops based on a minor infraction or on suspicious driving behavior. It should come as no surprise then to find that law enforcement officers are trained to watch for specific driving behaviors and actions in the hope that they will spot a driver driving under the influence. Hopefully, you will not get behind the wheel when you are intoxicated; however, even if you are completely sober you probably would prefer not to go through the hassle of being stopped and questioned. With that in mind, a Sarpy County DUI attorney explains some of the behaviors the police are trained to look for that might indicate a drunk driver.
Clearly, the following driving behaviors do not always indicate that a motorist is driving under the influence; however, they will often result in a traffic stop to check and see if you are under the influence:
- Speed – people often think that a driver who is speeding is likely to draw the attention of a police officer. Consequently, drivers who are under the influence often over-correct, and end up driving too slow. In reality, anytime a driver’s speed is noticeably outside the posted speed limit – either too fast or too slow – it may result in a traffic stop.
- Braking – because judgment is impaired when a driver is under the influence, braking often becomes rough. A motorist might brake too soon or too late, or might tap the brakes repeatedly.
- Lane changes – changing lanes can be a challenge under the best of driving conditions and when the motorist is stone cold sober. Doing so after consuming alcohol or while under the influence of a controlled substance often gives a drier away. Some drivers barrel into the nest lane without even checking for traffic while others slowly meander into another lane. Failing to signal a lane change is always a reason for a law enforcement officer to conduct a traffic stop.
- Response time – the more alcohol you consume, the slower your reaction time will be. Interestingly, the same is true for a motorist who is sleep deprived; however, being sleep deprived won’t result in your arrest
- Lights – you might be shocked at how many drunk drivers actually fall asleep at stop lights! While falling asleep is a “red light” that a driver is likely under the influence, there are other clues at a stop light as well, such as when a driver ends up with the nose of the vehicle in the intersection or when a driver fails to take off with the flow of traffic after the light turns green.
- Direction – driving the wrong direction on a one-way street is an obvious sign of potential intoxication. Less obvious signs include things such as turning on the wrong turn signal – using the left when you are turning right.
- Judgment – behaviors that appear to indicate your judgment is impaired, such as veering off the road and drifting into the lane next to yours.
- Parking – taking up two parking spaces, driving over the concrete barriers, driving on the curb and similar behaviors can be indications that the driver is under the influence.
How Can a Sarpy County DUI Lawyer Help?
Obviously, not all motorists who exhibit the above driving behaviors are driving under the influence. In fact, there are a number of legitimate reasons why a motorist might exhibit any number of the above-mentioned behaviors. Furthermore, whether or not your driving behavior warranted an initial stop can still be questionable as can whether that initial stop led to sufficient probable cause to detain you for a DUI investigation. These are all issues that an experienced Sarpy County DUI lawyer can analyze and discuss with you to determine if you have a valid defense to an allegation of driving under the influence.
Contact a Sarpy County DUI Lawyer
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, contact an Sarpy County DUI lawyer at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.