Lansing, MI police officers are trained to detect when a driver is showing signs of impairment which helps them determine when to pull a vehicle over. In the state of Michigan, if a driver is pulled over and an officer determines through a breath test that their BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level is .08, they will be arrested and charged with DUI. Officers can also make an arrest if they have valid evidence that indicates a driver is impaired, whether it be through the motorist’s actions or after obtaining a blood or urine sample that reveals a BAC level of .08 or higher.

Now, before an officer can pull a vehicle over, unless it is during a DUI checkpoint, they must have probable cause to do so. And if a driver is showing any of the following signs of impairment the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified, an officer can use these as their probable cause to stop them.

  1. The driver is showing difficulty maintaining proper lane position. Some cues officers look for in a driver that help them detect this include:
  • Weaving
  • Weaving across lane lines.
  • Straddling a lane line
  • Swerving
  • Making a turn with a wide radius.
  • Drifting
  • Coming close to striking a vehicle or other object.
  1. The driver is having issues with speed and braking. Some cues officers will look for that help them determine when a driver is struggling with speed and/or braking include:

• They are stopping too far, too short, or their stops are “jerky.
• Accelerating or decelerating for no reason.
• Their speed varies.
• Driving at speeds that are 10 mph under the speed limit.

3. The driver is having “vigilance problems.” Some example might include:

• Driving in opposite lanes or the wrong way on a one-way road.
• Show a slow response to traffic signals.
• They are slow or fail to respond to an officer’s signals.
• Stop in a lane for no reason.
• Drive without headlights at night.
• Fail to signal or their signal is inconsistent with their action.

  1. The driver is experiencing “judgment problems.” Some cues police officers look for include:

• Following too closely to other vehicles.
• Improper or unsafe lane change.
• Making an illegal or improper turn.
• Stopping inappropriately in response to an officer attempting to pull them over.
• Displaying behavior that is inappropriate or unusual.

Once an officer pulls a driver over who they suspect is operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, they will also look for the following cues to help them determine if they are, in fact, drunk or drugged:

  • The driver is having difficulty exiting their vehicle.
  • They are fumbling with their driver’s license or registration.
  • They are repeating questions or comments.
  • They are swaying, unsteady, or having issues with balancing.
  • They are leaning on the vehicle or another object.
  • Their speech is slurred.
  • They are slow to respond to an officer or the officer must repeat themselves.
  • They provide incorrect information or continue to change their answers.
  • They smell of alcohol.

Now, if you were recently arrested for DUI in Lansing, Okemos, Dewitt, St. Johns, Grand Ledge, Charlotte, or East Lansing, you will want to retain a DUI lawyer who can defend your rights. DUI charges not only result in serious penalties but also leave a stain on your record which can impact your ability to get a job or keep the one you currently have. Therefore, if you want to stand a chance at getting your charges reduced or would like a lawyer to review the details of your case to determine if the officer violated the law to make the arrest, contact the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C.

You can reach the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. at:
1223 Turner Street, #333
Lansing, MI 48906

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