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Signs of drunk driving: how is reasonable suspicion established?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2023 | DWI

Law enforcement personnel are hired and paid to keep the public safe. And part of this involves keeping drunk drivers off our roads. However, the police cannot pull you over for a drunk driving investigation on a mere whim. If they do, you may challenge your arrest and prosecution on grounds of lack of probable cause

As long as law enforcement has a reasonable belief that you are driving while intoxicated, they will stop you for an investigation and possible prosecution. But how exactly do the police establish reasonable suspicion?

Driving behavior that may lead to a DWI stop

Driving requires a lot of focus and alertness to execute safely. If the police spot you doing the following, they will probably stop you to find out what is going on:

  • Weaving within your lane or struggling to stay in it
  • Failing to observe simple traffic rules like stopping at the red light
  • Erratic driving like speeding and slowing without reason
  • Hugging the centreline
  • Driving with your headlights off at night

Physical evidence that can prompt further investigation during the stop

Alcohol affects people in a number of ways. Once you are pulled over, the police will look for physical signs of intoxication. Some of the physical evidence include watery or bloodshot eyes, a flushed face, the smell of alcohol on your breath, slurred speech, fumbling or inappropriate behaviors like starting unnecessary arguments. 

However, it is important to understand that some of these symptoms can also be caused by medical conditions like allergic reactions or the use of certain medications. 

Protecting your rights

Being charged with driving while intoxicated is a big deal. Learning how Texas DWI laws work can help you protect your rights and defend yourself when facing potential drunk driving charges.