The line between pulling over a driver on suspicion of driving while ability impaired on alcohol (DUI) or drugs (DUID) is pretty thin, and even the police know this. So, it’s important to know what signs, signals, or indicators law enforcement officers look for when it comes to impaired driving. First of all, we do not advocate people driving impaired – ever! But, we also feel a responsibility to share with our clients this information on the side chance that it can jog your memory to something that may help your own case, or instill enough fear in you that you won’t ever drive drunk. Remember, the average cost of a DUI is roughly $10,000, and the last time we checked that figure wasn’t going down, but rather increasing. DUIs also have profound impacts on marriages, at least those that survive a DUI.
15 Signs Law Officers Look for During DUI Stops
We asked one of our local law enforcement officers what signs, signals, or indicators they looked for when they pulled over a car, and had a suspicion that the driver was driving impaired. Here were his answers:
- Speeding – Especially, if the driver is 10 mph over the speed limit. If the driver has their stereo volume turned way up is another indication that their senses are impaired.
- Improper Lane Usage – This can involve weaving in and out of their lane of traffic, or even making an improper lane change without using their turn signal.
- Expired License Plates – Some cops (especially the state patrol) are equipped with scanners that can read license plates from great distances and determine if the car has expired plates/tags.
- Missing/Broken Taillight – One of the most common reasons for getting pulled over.
- Missing Taillight Above Rear License Plate – One town began stopping cars for this missing light calling it a violation. This traffic violation netted many DUIs in the town, but a savvy defense attorney got a lot of these cases thrown out of court for wrongful probable cause.
- Roadside Safety Checks/DUI Checkpoints – Traffic is narrowed to one lane and officers randomly pick out a vehicle following a strict selection process. This form of pullover usually nets at least one DUI arrest.
- Anonymous Callers/Citizen Complaints – This may be another driver that witnesses a car swerving in traffic or spots a vehicle involved in a car accident. This form of activism has increased in recent years with the advent of smart phones and Bluetooth technology.
- Catching Sleepers – Drunk drivers who pull over on the shoulder of roads or even in parking lots can get checked by police for public safety, as well as arrest them if they have been drinking.
- Fast Acceleration/Deceleration – This is usually a sign of an erratic driver who may be impaired.
- Tailgating – This is typically a sign of impaired spatial perception and a tell-tail sign of impaired driving.
- Nearly Hitting Objects – A driver who is weaving and nearly hits a guardrail or another vehicle is a good sign that the driver may be impaired.
- Irrational Stop/Erratic Braking – This is also a sign of a driver, who may have impaired their senses and loss of rational thought.
- Irrational Signaling – When a driver makes a signal and his driving actions don’t track with his signal may be a sign of impaired driving.
- Delayed Response to Traffic Signals – A delayed or even a sudden start can be a sign of impaired driving.
- Wrong-way Driving – This is a classic sign of a drunk or impaired driver.
What Should You Do if You See a Drunk Driver?
There’s bound to be a time in your life when you witness distracted driving, road rage, or even drunk driving. Some citizens are more pro-active than others. So, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have some advice for drivers who think they may be witnessing a drunk driver. Here’s MADD’s advice as to what to do, if you think you are witnessing a drunk driver:
- It’s important to keep a safe distance from your car and the possible drunk driver, because you never know what they are capable of.
- Don’t try and pass the driver, flash your headlights, or honk at the other vehicle. This could result in a car accident or perhaps even an altercation.
- Try and write down or take a picture of the license plate. Be sure to get the license plate numbers, make, color and model of vehicle. Perhaps a description of the driver. Just be sure to do this safely without bringing any danger to yourself.
- Call 911/emergency services right away. If you can’t do this hands-free, then pull over. Give the police dispatch the vehicle description and last known location and direction the vehicle was traveling in.
Contact Our Broomfield DUI Lawyers at The Datz Law Firm
Are you in despair about what to do after being pulled over and charged with a DUI? The best thing you can do is call the Broomfield DUI lawyers at The Datz Law Firm, who are ready to re-investigate the claims and charges pinned against you, look at any improper search and seizure tactics, and whether police have performed questionably with regard to probable cause for pulling you over.
Most of our legal experts are former district attorneys, so our Broomfield DUI lawyers have the experience and knowledge to build and present strong cases to challenge prosecutors in any legal setting.
The sooner we meet, the sooner we can discuss your options for defending your case against and all charges. To set up an initial consultation, call us at (720) 256-2404, or email us using the form at the top of this page.
We have offices in Broomfield, but we’ll represent any client in the Front Range or Denver-Metro area.