Police officers are prohibited from randomly pulling drivers over to check for intoxication. This is true in South Carolina and other states. Sobriety checkpoints could be called an exception to this rule; however, as these checkpoints do not necessarily target specific individuals they are frequently used to crack down on drunk driving. In all other situations, including suspected DUI, police officers are bound by the U.S. Constitution to have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity before pulling a motorist over.
Police officers can make any number of observations that can arouse reasonable suspicion. Weaving in and out of traffic lanes and drifting from one lane to another are two observations police can use to stop a motorist. Driving too far under the speed limit is another indicator that a driver might be under the influence. Other factors include:
— Almost striking an object or vehicle
— Drifting during a turn or a curve
— Straddling the center line
— Stopping for no apparent reason
— Braking too frequently
If police officers observe these kinds of behaviors, they may have ample justification to stop a motor vehicle for further investigation. The police can also initiate a traffic stop for an unrelated offense and then investigate whether or not the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Many people call the reasonable suspicion laws vague, but once a person is facing drunk driving charges it is typically too late to protest. The best thing a defendant can do once an arrest is made is to begin working on a defense. With an attorney working on the defendant’s behalf, it is often possible to beat the harshest penalties and even have the charges dropped.
Source: FindLaw, “What is Reasonable Suspicion for a DUI Stop?,” accessed Feb. 18, 2016