Can the police assume you’re intoxicated?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2021 | DUI |

You’re driving home one night when the police pull you over. The officer comes to your window and tells you that they thought you might be intoxicated and they want to give you a breath test or have you do field sobriety tests.

Your big question, almost immediately, is how they even knew that. Did they just assume you were intoxicated? For instance, can a police officer wait to watch people leave a bar and then pull over everyone who leaves, assuming that they’re driving drunk?

Police need a reason for a traffic stop

The police cannot assume that you are intoxicated, and they need a reason for the traffic stop. they’re not allowed to randomly stop cars or just guess that drivers who are driving at a certain time – or who look to be a certain age or gender – may be intoxicated. For instance, they can’t just pull over every young man who is driving after 2:00 in the morning, assuming he has been at a bar.

What they need to look for is a different reason that they can stop the car. Examples include traffic infractions like speeding or rolling through a stop sign. They may use minor mistakes, such as seeing a driver swerving in their lane or not accelerating right away at a green light. They don’t need to have a dramatic reason, but there has to be some potential issue that they notice that allows them to make that initial stop.

If you are facing DUI charges, especially after an illegal stop, be sure you know what defense options you have.