A police officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over for suspected DUI, and to arrest you, the officer must have probable cause.
Reasonable suspicion is typically established when an officer sees a driver violate one or more rules of the road. Probable cause is most often established when a driver fails field sobriety testing or fails a roadside breath test. But what are police officers in Louisiana specifically looking for when they make a DUI arrest?
Signs of Possible Impairment
Following are some of the most common signs that may prompt a police officer to pull you over and arrest you for possible drunk driving:
- When your vehicle is in motion, if it veers across a lane too close to the yellow line or in any way moves erratically, a police officer might stop you for questioning.
- Upon establishing personal contact with you, if an officer smells alcohol or thinks you have slurred speech, you will likely be asked to submit to field sobriety testing.
- A police officer who sees you stumble, sway or fall to the ground during a traffic stop is likely to arrest you on suspicion of drunk driving.
- Once a police officer asks you to get out of your car, that means you are being detained. If you submit to field sobriety tests and fail, you may be asked to submit to a breath test, or the officer may take you to jail and then ask you to submit to a breath test. In any case, you will need to start mounting a defense as soon as possible.
The arrest is only part of the legal process.
Just because you face drunk driving charges does not necessarily mean the court will convict you. Depending on the facts of your case, there may be defense options available that can help keep you out of jail. For example, it may be possible to show that the police officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause — or that field sobriety testing was poorly conducted or that the breath test was improperly calibrated.
For more on defending against DUI charges in Louisiana, please see our DUI defense overview.