Police officers have a duty to keep their patrol areas safe. One duty they have is to try to spot drunk drivers to get them off the roads. While this might seem simple, there are many things that must come together for this to occur.
It’s possible for officers to make errors when they’re trying to keep the streets safe. In order to minimize the chance of this and to keep their powers limited, police officers are bound by certain points.
Officers need reasonable suspicion for the stop
A police officer can’t stop a vehicle without having a valid reason to do so. While some traffic stops might be because of something like a burned out taillight, they can also stop the vehicle if they spot signs that the driver might be intoxicated. It’s legal for the officers to pull someone over based on a reasonable suspicion that they’re impaired.
Probable cause must be present for arrest
Once the traffic stop is initiated, the officer has to determine what’s going on with the driver. They can only conduct an arrest if they have probable cause. This is typically done by using blood alcohol concentration testing or standardized field sobriety tests.
Tests aren’t infallible
Even though the BAC and SFST can be probable cause for arrest, they aren’t infallible. It might be possible to call those into question as part of a defense strategy.
Combating a drunk driving charge can be a challenge, so it may behoove you to work with someone who understands the ins and outs of these cases. You have to make decisions that you feel are in your best interests.