If you’ve ever been pulled over by the police, you know how scary it can be. Even if you know you’ve done nothing wrong, you still worry. When you’ve been drinking and see the blue and red lights pull up behind you, there’s a good chance you’ll panic. You really don’t have any option – you have to pull over. You start to wonder what made the cops pick you out of all the other cars they could’ve pulled over. Athens DUI defense lawyers talk to clients all the time who wonder – what could I have done differently?
The truth is that the cops know what to look for when patrolling for drunk drivers. They have been doing their job for years. When they see somebody weaving in and out of their lane or driving way too slowly, they have a duty to pull them over. It’s nothing personal. However, it feels pretty personal when you have a cop accusing you of drinking and driving. At this point, there’s not much you can do but wait it out. If you end up getting charged with DUI, then you need to call an Athens DUI defense lawyer right away.
Officers are Trained to Look for Signs of Impairment
Athens’ police officers are always on the lookout for drunk drivers. They have to. Their number one duty is to ensure public safety. If they notice that a driver is behaving a bit strange, they have a duty to pull them over. Over the course of their training, police officers learn what things to look for when determining who to pull over. They also know what to look for when deciding if someone could be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some of the signs include:
- A vehicle is unable to stay in one lane
- Driving well below the speed limit
- Stopping too long at stop signs and intersections
- Windows are wide open in cold weather
The things the officers look for are common sense things. The same things that would make you point to another vehicle and say, “That driver must be drunk.” It’s important to remember that the cops have seen it all. They won’t have any problem convincing the court that they had reasonable suspicion to stop you.
Cops Only Need to Show Reasonable Suspicion for the Traffic Stop
If your Athens DUI defense lawyer challenges the traffic stop, it won’t be easy. The threshold for the police to have reasonable suspicion is low. If they have reason to believe that the driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can pull you over. All they really need to show is that you appeared to be a threat to public safety. If they ultimately find that you were under the influence, it will only bolster their claim to have reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
Your Athens DUI Defense Lawyer Can Challenge the Legality of the Stop
One way to challenge any DUI charge is to target the legality of the stop. If your Athens DUI defense lawyer can show that the stop was illegal, all the subsequent evidence must be thrown out. This is a very high hurdle to overcome. Your attorney must show that the police officers had no right to pull you over. If the police have a video showing them pulling you over, it likely has video of you weaving or driving erratically. There will also be a video of the stop itself. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blow over the .08 limit, it won’t help your case. It almost serves as evidence that the cops did, indeed, have reason to suspect you were driving while under the influence.
What Do the Police Look for Once They’ve Pulled You Over?
Once the officers have pulled you over, they’re going to look for the telltale signs of impairment. They are trained specifically on this matter. Some of the things they will look for include the following:
- Red or bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- Nervous behavior
- Smell of alcohol
- Open containers in the car
Any of these things are going to hurt your case. The State will show that the cops had every reason to believe you were intoxicated at the time of your arrest. This is all the more reason why you need an experienced Athens DUI defense lawyer by your side. Call our office and talk to one of our skilled defense attorneys right away.