How Can the Police Tell If a Driver Is Drunk?
As you gear up for St. Patrick’s Day this year, don’t forget to put your safety first. COVID-19 restrictions are starting to ease up throughout California, and this upcoming St. Patrick’s Day gives people a good excuse to make up for the time that was “lost” during the pandemic. The combination of looser restrictions and a widely-anticipated holiday celebration creates a recipe for DUI and traffic safety risks.
Believe it or not, this time last year marked the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising if DUI charges increase. People are substantially eager to go out after a year of staying in.
As a result, law enforcement agencies are preparing to tackle DUI suspects with full force, stopping at nothing to keep the streets safe. Police patrols in the Bay Area will likely increase in high-risk areas, which include St. Patrick’s Day venues and events, bars, restaurants, and parks. Thus, the odds of getting a DUI charge may skyrocket.
But how do the police spot drunk drivers in the first place? After all, they must have reasonable suspicion to pull over drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) outlines 4 categories of driving behaviors that typically indicate DUI. They include:
Problems Maintaining Proper Lane Position
- Straddling a lane line
- Turning with a wide radius
- Almost striking a vehicle or other object
Speed and Braking Problems
- Stopping problems (too far, too short, or too jerky)
- Accelerating or decelerating for no apparent reason
- Varying speed
- Slow speed (10+ mph under the limit)
- Driving in opposing lanes or wrong way on one-way
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Slow or failure to respond to the officer’s signals
- Stopping in a lane for no apparent reason
- Driving without headlights at night
- Failure to signal or signal inconsistent with action
- Following too closely
- Improper or unsafe lane change
- Illegal or improper turn (too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.)
- Driving on other than the designated roadway
- Stopping inappropriately in response to the officer
- Inappropriate or unusual behavior (throwing, arguing, etc.)
- Appearing to be impaired
What about when a driver is pulled over? How do the police confirm their suspicions? Once a driver gets pulled over, the police often look for the following signs of DUI:
- Difficulty with motor vehicle controls
- Difficulty exiting the vehicle
- Fumbling with driver’s license or registration
- Repeating questions or comments
- Swaying, unsteady, or balance problems
- Leaning on the vehicle or other object
- Slurred speech
- Slow to respond to officer or officer must repeat questions
- Providing incorrect information or changes answers
- An odor of alcoholic beverage from the driver
Did you get a DUI in Oakland? Fight back with the help of our experienced attorney. To learn about your legal options, contact us at (510) 907-6600!