Posted in Atlanta DUI Law on November 1, 2019
You had a few drinks at the bar and decide to drive home – carefully. Not long after you turn onto the main road you see a police cruiser pull out behind you. Before you know it, you can see the glow of flashing lights in your rearview mirror.
Why? You were sure that you were being careful. Now you’re facing the very real possibility of getting a DUI. You might not realize that certain drivers who are under the influence tend to have certain bad driving habits. Here are six things police in Atlanta look for when searching the road for drunk drivers.
You Were Driving Too Fast
Speeding is one of the biggest red flags for police officers. If you’re cruising down the road above the speed limit, that’ll get an officer’s attention. Doesn’t everyone speed? A lot of drivers do, sure. When you’re under the influence, however, you’re probably more likely to drive really fast. The faster you go, the more likely it is you’ll get pulled over by an officer.
The last thing you want to do when you’ve had a drink or two is to give officers reasonable suspicion to stop your car. They might stop you because you were speeding. Then, after exchanging a few words, they might begin to realize that your eyes are glassy, your speech is slurred, and your breath smells like alcohol. That’s a sure way to get busted for DUI.
You Were Driving Under the Speed Limit
You decided to be extra careful and not even begin to approach the speed limit. While this might seem like a good idea, it can actually just make it easier for cops to spot unusual behavior. When police officers see that you’re driving below the speed limit – and we’re talking 10, 15, or 20 MPH less than the posted limit – they might begin to suspect that something isn’t right.
There are even certain highways in Atlanta that have a minimum speed limit. Why? Driving at a slow speed can be just as dangerous as driving fast, especially when you’re around a lot of other vehicles that are flying by.
Your Lights Weren’t On
If it’s dark or raining, Georgia law requires you to have your headlights on. If you’re under the influence, you might forget to switch on the lights before you hit the road. Don’t think that automatic lights will save you. Sometimes those don’t turn on. If you’re driving down the road without lights, expect any police officer who sees you to pull you over. Once that happens and they learn that you’ve been drinking, that’s a fast track to a DUI arrest.
You Didn’t Use Your Blinker
For many drivers, their biggest pet peeve is when another driver changes lanes or makes a turn without using their turning signal. It’s not just irritating – it can be downright dangerous. The turning signal, or blinker, as many call it, lets other drivers know when you’re going to leave your space and enter a new lane of traffic. This gives other drivers a head’s up and gives them time to anticipate your move. If you don’t use your blinker, it’s easier for accidents to happen. If you make a turn or change lanes without signaling, police officers have the authority to stop your car.
You Made a Wide Turn
You certainly don’t want to hit anything when you’re driving with some alcohol in your body, right? So, you might decide to leave some extra room when making turns. However, police officers will be on the lookout for any atypical driving behaviors. The officer might ask themselves, “drivers wouldn’t normally make a wide turn, so is that driver doing that now?”
You Didn’t Maintain Your Lane
Sometimes you might not mean to change lanes, but you do anyway. You might not even change lanes entirely. Maybe you straddle a dashed line and ride with your wheels in two different lanes. That’s not something that a driver who’s not distracted, fatigued, or under the influence would do. When an officer sees that you’ve failed to maintain your lane, they might suspect that you’re drunk.
They Saw You Leave a Bar
Sometimes police officers will park their patrol cars near popular drinking establishments. They’ll watch patrons exit and walk to their cars. If they see you stumble, trip, or weave, they might not let you get too far down the road before stopping you. It’s their job to keep the roads safe, and that might entail preventing you from driving if they suspect you’re drunk.
These behaviors – on their own – might not always cause you to get stopped by police in Atlanta. However, if police officers observe several of these things at once, that will probably increase the likelihood of a traffic stop. Once an officer has stopped you, they will begin to look for signs that you’ve been drinking. If they detect alcohol or believe that you’re impaired, they might ask you to take a breathalyzer or conduct some field sobriety tests.
Once you’re out of the car, there’s a good chance you’ll be arrested on suspicion of DUI. That’s when you need to assert your right to be silent and call your Atlanta DUI lawyer, regardless of whether it’s your first offense or subsequent arrest.