In some impaired driving cases, police will stop a vehicle because they have already seen evidence that the driver might be under the influence. An example of this could be if a police officer is following someone who is driving without their lights on at night. That person may be sober, or they may not have noticed that their lights are off because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Another example is if someone has caused an accident or even had a near mess.
That being said, there are many cases in which drivers are stopped for unrelated reasons, but the police officers determine they are impaired after making that stop. This is important to note because officers are not permitted to make random stops. They need to have a reason first. So what are some of the things they use to make these initial stops, giving them a chance to talk to drivers and see if they are actually impaired?
Numerous minor issues with the vehicle or the driver
A big thing to remember is that there are a lot of minor issues with the way that you drive or with your vehicle itself, all of which can be used as excuses to stop a car.
On the driving side, police officers may simply look for minor mistakes. Maybe you slowed down at a four-way stop, but there wasn’t any other traffic, so you technically didn’t come to a complete stop as you rolled through at 1 or 2 miles per hour. Officers will also look for things like switching lanes without using a blinker, breaking the speed limit or failing to drive when the light turns green.
On the vehicle side, officers will look for problems with the car that need to be fixed. A headlight being out is one example, but others include dark window tints, cracked windshields, broken mufflers and any obstructions to your vision.
If you have been stopped on allegations of impaired driving, seek legal help to understand what defense options you have at your disposal.