A Cop’s Guide to Identifying Drunk Drivers

If you are being accused of driving while intoxicated, you should know the reasons why. There are many signals that cops look for when trying to identify a drunk driver. You should know that some of these can be attributed to other factors, but the opposite is specifically looking for drivers who are intoxicated. Here is a guide to what drunk driving law enforcement officials use to identify drunk drivers.

Drunk Driving Law Enforcement Officials Use These Methods to Identify Drunk Drivers

drunk driving law


Before you are even pulled over, cops are looking for signs of impairment. There are many things that cops look for before they pull you over, and they will usually cite the reason for pulling you over when they first approach you.  These signs include swerving, changing lanes too many times, not using your signal, driving too slow or too recklessly, or taking wide turns.  Most common traffic violations can influence a cop to look for signs that you may be impaired.  However, swerving or excessive action, such as wide turns or inappropriate braking is a strong signifier that the driver may be intoxicated.

First Impression

When the cop pulls you over, they are looking for signs of intoxication based on your driving. They will now start to observe your behavior as they ask you for your documentation. There are a few indicators that you may be intoxicated. If you are having trouble finding or are fumbling with your documentation, this is a red flag to a police officer. More obvious signs include slurred speech or the smell of alcohol. In this case, they may ask you to step out of the vehicle.


Your physical appearance can also be a sign of impairment. A flushed face or bloodshot eyes will definitely be a signifier. Once you’re out of the car, they will likely ask you a series of questions and ask you to walk a straight line. This is because they are looking for a wobbly or unsteady gait which could be the aftermath of too much alcohol.

It’s all of these signs, or even some of them are displayed, you may wind up arrested for a DWI. Again, there are so many reasons that one or all of these occurrences can take place, but the officer is specifically looking for signs of intoxication so that they can keep the roads safe. Make sure you immediately contact an attorney if you are pulled over for a DWI. If the officer did not have a reason to arrest you, you may be able to defend yourself against this charge.



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