Be prepared in case of a traffic stop by learning what police officers look for when they stop someone’s vehicle, especially if they suspect a DWI. Here’s what police are trained to notice:
Erratic Behavior When Pulling Over
Don’t swerve your vehicle, slow down dramatically, speed up, or display any kind of alarming behavior when you’re being stopped by police. Officers are especially watching your windows to see if you throw anything out.
The Smell of Drugs or Alcohol
When the officer asks you to roll down your window, they are immediately searching for the scent of alcohol on your breath or in the car, or the smell of marijuana.
A Disheveled Appearance
Police will notice if you’re wearing dirty or unkempt clothes, or if you look like you just rolled out of bed. It’s often assumed that a disheveled appearance is a result of partying.
Sensitivity to Light or Red Eyes
Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause someone to have red, bloodshot eyes or be more sensitive to light than usual. Officers will often shine their bright flashlights inside the car to disorient drivers and will consider a normal reaction to blinding light a sign of impairment.
Confusion or Slurred Speech
The officer who stops you will ask you a number of questions about yourself, as well as where you’ve been, where you’re going, and if you’ve had anything to drink. You do not have to answer these questions or do anything other than establishing your identity if you’re not under arrest.
If you do answer them, police will be listening for altered speech patterns such as slurring or stuttering, or confusion about details like where you are or what you were doing before you were pulled over.
Evidence a Crime May Have Been Committed in the Car
One of the most significant things police officers will be looking for when they pull you over is evidence of any crime, whatsoever, in your vehicle. If they find it, they have the right to search your vehicle without a warrant — this is called probable cause.
Officers will be looking for items like drug paraphernalia, firearms or other weapons, open containers, or any other evidence that suggests the vehicle was or is the scene of a crime.
Should You Call an Ocean City Attorney?
If you were arrested for drunk driving in Maryland, it’s critical that you reach out to a lawyer right away. Call Richard Brueckner for a consultation at (410) 430-1464.