Law enforcement cannot stop and investigate you for drunk driving on a mere hunch. If they do, you could argue that the police violated your rights.
A law enforcement officer needs reasonable suspicion of unlawful conduct to pull you over for an investigation. Basically, this is the belief that you have committed a crime, are committing one or are likely to commit one based on your driving behavior.
What constitutes reasonable suspicion for a DUI stop?
Law enforcement will most certainly pull you over for a DUI investigation if you exhibit any or some of the following behaviors on the road:
- Hugging the center line
- Erratic speeding and stopping
- Frequent braking
- Driving at night with the headlights off
- Almost causing an accident
- Violating obvious traffic rules
Of course, these behaviors can also be indicative of fatigue or distracted driving or general recklessness on the road. That said, they can be the basis for reasonable suspicion that you are violating traffic laws, thus, prompting the police to initiate a stop for further investigation.
Reasonable suspicion only gives law enforcement the right to pull over and briefly hold an individual for investigation. Probable cause, on the other hand, allows the police to make a search (with or without a warrant) and execute an arrest. In the context of drunk driving, some of the circumstances that may lead law enforcement to form probable cause include refusing to yield to a Breathalyzer or failing field sobriety tests.
Facing a DUI charge can be very unsettling. Find out how you can defend yourself and safeguard your interests if you have been stopped for a DUI investigation in Georgia.