Being charged with drunk driving is a serious matter with far-reaching legal and personal consequences. If you are arrested for drunk driving in North Dakota, you should take the charges seriously and explore your defense options.
The police cannot arrest you on a mere whim. They must be reasonably suspicious that you are about to commit a crime or are in the act of committing a crime. In the context of drunk driving, the police must have valid reasons to believe that you could be intoxicated to pull you over for further investigation. But how exactly do the police establish reasonable suspicion for DUI stops?
Understanding reasonable suspicion
Reasonable suspicion is the legal standard that requires the police to deduce that you have committed a crime or are in the process of doing so. To begin a DUI investigation, the police’s observation of your driving pattern must lead them to believe that you are intoxicated behind the wheel.
Here are driving behaviors that can lead the police to suspect that you might be drunk driving:
- Having difficulty driving in your lane (weaving, swerving, or driving in and out of your lane)
- An erratic driving pattern (slowing down and speeding without cause)
- Exhibiting poor judgment patterns such as arguing with other drivers, tailgating, driving with your headlights off, and driving through the red lights
If you’re pulled over, the police still need additional evidence of impairment to make an arrest, such as slurred speech, the smell of alcohol on your breath, a confession you’ve been drinking or bloodshot eyes.
Protecting your rights
Being charged with drunk driving can be a challenging experience. If the police stop that led to your arrest was unlawful, then this can form an important part of your defense.