Reasonable suspicion’s role in drunk driving cases
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Reasonable suspicion’s role in drunk driving cases

| May 19, 2020 | DWI

Police officers have a duty to keep the roads as safe as they can. One task that they have is to try to spot signs of impairment in drivers, so they can get those individuals off the roads. Drunk driving in Texas puts everyone on the roads with the impaired driver in danger, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that officers take this duty very seriously.

There are two standards that apply to a drunk driving traffic stop. To initiate the stop, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is occurring. To arrest a person for drunk driving, they must have probable cause. While there are many similarities between those two standards, reasonable suspicion is a much lower one because there doesn’t have to be any hard evidence.

Many drunk driving cases come down to what prompted the officer to pull the vehicle over. There are many signs of impairment that they are trained to spot. These include:

  • Swerving in and out of lanes
  • Straddling the centerline
  • Braking without cause
  • Failing to use headlights after dark
  • Driving very slowly or well above the speed limit
  • Narrowly missing hitting roadside objects

If you show signs of impairment, such as failing to pass a standardized field sobriety test or having a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the officer will have probable cause to arrest you. They can also conduct an arrest if you admit that you’ve had alcohol.

Anyone facing a drunk driving charge should evaluate their options for a defense strategy. Choosing the option that you feel is in your best interests may help you feel better about the future of your case.