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Reasonable Suspicion and DUIs

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Very often, law enforcement officials use saturation checkpoints or other types of periodic, roadside sobriety checkpoints to charge suspected drivers with DUIs or DWAIs. These checkpoints play an important role in officials’ efforts to maintain safe roadways and prevent life-threatening automobile wrecks. Checkpoints aside though, law enforcement officials have other means of keeping roadways clear of intoxicated drivers.

While DUI saturation and sobriety checkpoints serve as a common and effective way of identifying which drivers pose a threat to the safety of others, the checkpoints have drawbacks, and as such, they’re not the only tool available to law enforcement officials have at their disposal for keeping roadways clear of dangerous drivers.  Law enforcement officials can also pull-over intoxicated drivers if the officers have reasonable suspicion that the drivers’ judgment or abilities have been impaired due to alcohol or drugs.

Unfortunately, for those drivers who’ve been wrongfully charged with DUIs or DWAIs, a wide-range of behaviors fall into the category of those driving behaviors that officers associate with suspected DUI offenders. To explain, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a list of behaviors or “symptoms” that officers have cited for pulling over drivers which they reasonably suspect have been driving under the influence. While the connection between some of these behaviors and intoxication—in many cases—appears painfully obvious, in other cases, the connection might not seem apparent.

Driving Behaviors or “Symptoms” that Provide Officers with Reasonable Suspicion

  • Turning with wide radius
  • Straddling center or lane marker
  • Appearing to be drunk
  • Almost striking an object or vehicle
  • Weaving
  • Driving on other than designated roadway
  • Swerving
  • Slow Speed
  • Stopping (without cause) in traffic lane
  • Drifting
  • Following too closely
  • Tires on center or land marker
  • Braking erratically
  • Driving into opposing or oncoming traffic
  • Inappropriate stopping
  • Inconsistent signaling
  • Headlights off
  • Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
  • Turning abruptly or illegally

Turning abruptly or illegally If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) or a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) then you should contact a DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Because the types of behaviors associated with DUI charges covers a rather tremendous spectrum of driving behaviors—and is therefore, a likely inaccurate gauge at times—you should make sure you have a seasoned DUI criminal defense attorney to ensure you don’t end up with a conviction you don’t deserve.

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