What the Police Are Looking for When They Pull You Over for DWI

A toy police car in front of a set of car keys and an alcoholic beverage, symbolizing drunk driving.

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Being pulled over by the police is never pleasant, but if you have had a drink or two, you may well be terrified. The fact is that it is not against the law to drive after having a drink – it is against the law to drive while intoxicated. As such, there are certain signs that the officer who pulls you over will be looking for as evidence that you may be under the influence of alcohol. Understanding what the officer who stops you is paying attention to can help you handle the situation with more confidence.

DWI Detection

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares the four categories of driver behaviors that typically alert officers to impaired drivers. These include:

  • A driver’s inability to maintain appropriate lane positioning
  • A driver who has problems with speed or braking
  • A driver who has problems with vigilance
  • A driver who has problems with judgment

Each of these can be further broken down into specific actions that are considered warning signs by police officers.

Maintaining Proper Lane Positioning

When a driver fails to maintain proper lane positioning, he or she may exhibit any of the following driving behaviors:

  • Weaving across lane lines
  • Straddling a lane line
  • Swerving
  • Making overly wide turns
  • Drifting on the roadway
  • Coming close to hitting another vehicle or object

Problems with Speed and Braking

The police are also watching for drivers who have problems with their speed and/or braking, including drivers who:

  • Stop too short, too far, or too jerkily
  • Accelerate or decelerate for no apparent reason
  • Vary driving speed for no apparent reason
  • Drive more than 10 miles an hour below the speed limit

Problems with Vigilance

Driving safely is an enormous responsibility, and part of this responsibility involves remaining vigilant to safety concerns. As such, officers are acutely aware of drivers who:

  • Drive the wrong way on a one-way road
  • Are slow to or fail to respond to an officer’s signals
  • Drive without headlights at night
  • Fail to signal or signal inconsistently

Post-Stop Behaviors

If an officer pulls you over for suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she will be looking for specific clues in your behavior that could indicate intoxication, including:

  • Having problems with your car’s controls
  • Having difficulty exiting your vehicle
  • Fumbling with your license or registration
  • Repeating the officer’s questions or comments
  • Having problems with your balance
  • Leaning on your vehicle or another object for support
  • Slurring your speech

Facing DWI Charge? You Need an Experienced Attorney on Your Side!

DWI charges are serious charges that come with serious consequences that can adversely affect your life for years to come. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is committed to helping you obtain your case’s best possible resolution. We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us¬†or call us at (254) 220-4225 today.
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