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What Is Considered Reasonable Suspicion for a DUI Stop?

Driving while impaired is a disorderly persons offense that is punishable by a fine and jail time. More extreme cases and repeat offenses could lead to a more severe conviction. Many people enjoy drinking in social settings and do so responsibly, but it is very easy to overdo it and drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level that exceeds the state-allowed maximum of 0.08 percent. Alcohol affects your motor functions as well as judgment. That means it affects your ability to drive safely. Your driving behavior might give a police officer reason to suspect that you are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The police officer could pull you over and subject you to a field sobriety test. The officer also might administer a breathalyzer or detain you until your blood-alcohol content is tested. There are many ways in which you might draw suspicion of drunk driving. One of the most common ways is weaving while trying to maintain a straight path when driving. Sober drivers usually keep their eyes on the horizon and drive in a straight and controlled manner. However, drunk drivers tend to take their eyes off of the road. Other examples of driving behaviors that could cause reasonable suspicion for a DUI stop include:

  • Nearly striking other vehicles or objects along the roadside.
  • Braking frequently.
  • Stopping in the middle of the road for no reason.
  • Erratic or very slow driving.
  • Drifting out of your lane or straddling the centerline.

If a police officer witnesses you doing one or more of the common signs of drunk driving, they could pull you over. Another motorist also might observe your erratic driving and call the police to report you as a drunk driver.

How Reasonable Suspicion Becomes Probable Cause?

The officer might see an open container in the vehicle or smell alcohol on your breath during a routine traffic stop. If you slur your speech, have glassy eyes, and move around in a manner that suggests you are under the influence, the officer could cite that as reasonable suspicion to initiate a field sobriety test. However, to arrest you for driving under the influence, the officer must have probable cause. If you fail a field sobriety test, the officer could cite that as probable cause and arrest you. A breathalyzer could confirm the suspicion and lead to a DUI charge.

South Jersey DUI Lawyers at Agre & St. John Can Help You if You Have Been Arrested for Driving While Impaired

If you have been accused of drunk driving, our experienced South Jersey DUI lawyers at Agre & St. John can help. Call us at 856-428-7797 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.

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