Law enforcement must reasonable suspicion to stop and investigate a motorist for drunk driving or probable cause that the motorist has committed a traffic violation. In other words, if they do not have probable cause to believe that you have committed a motor vehicle violation, they must at least have reasonable grounds to believe that you are driving intoxicated. If the police stop and arrest you for drunk driving without the necessary cause, you may be able to raise an improper stop as part of your defense.
Here are some of indicators that are likely to prompt law enforcement to pull you over for a DUI investigation.
Swerving in and out of your lane
It is not uncommon for an intoxicated motorist to doze off or otherwise lose focus while driving. This often causes the driver to weave within their own lane of travel and, in more serious cases, veer into the adjacent lane or oncoming traffic. A driver who cannot maintain their lane is a serious risk to other road users.
Disregarding traffic rules
Ignoring basic traffic rules like giving way to pedestrians at a crosswalk or driving through a red light or stop sign will generally earn you a stop. If the police notice that you show signs of intoxication during the stop, they will most likely conduct a further investigation. This investigation may include requesting you to perform field sobriety tests as well as taking a breathalyzer or blood test.
Erratic speeding and braking
When a motorist is intoxicated, they may exhibit erratic driving patterns. They may slow down before suddenly speeding up, even when there are no vehicles in front of them or other explanations for the variation in speeds. Drunk drivers are also likely to have poor reaction times which may often be exhibited in the form of erratic braking.
The best way to avoid being stopped for drunk driving is not to drink and drive.
If you are stopped for a suspected DUI in PA, it is always best to remain calm and polite. And, in most cases, it best to submit to a breath or blood test if asked to do so by law enforcement, in order to avoid more serious penalties. Lastly, if you are charged with DUI, it is important to explore your defense options by speaking with a lawyer experienced in representing people charged with DUI.