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What Are the Visual Cues to a DUI?

Police officers are trained to look for certain behaviors and visuals when choosing people to pull over for drunk driving. But what are these visuals that give officers “reasonable suspicion” enough to lawfully pull over a vehicle?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (or NHTSA) has created a list of 24 visual driving cues that could indicate that an individual’s BAC could be above the legal limit.

These 24 cues have been divided into four groups:

  • Judgement problems
  • Vigilance problems
  • Braking and speed problems
  • Problems maintaining lane position

Judgement Problems

These problems indicate that the driver is too impaired to determine safe driving behaviors appropriately. Visual clues can include following other cars too closely, jerky and unsafe motions, unsafe lane changes, or stopping inappropriately at the sight of an officer.

Vigilance Problems

These problems indicate that the driver’s state is impairing his or her ability to notice and react to the surroundings. Driving without headlights, responding slowly to stop signs or traffic lights, and failing to use the blinkers are all signs that alcohol or drugs have impacted the driver’s ability to recognize the surrounding around them.

Braking and Speed Problems

Stopping and going are notorious problems for drunk drivers. Stopping suddenly, speeding, and driving too slowly are all visual cues that officers look for when searching for drivers with BAC levels .08% or higher.

Problems Maintaining Lane Position

Much like with judgment and vigilance problems, drunk drivers have a difficult time maintaining a proper lane position. This includes weaving, straddling lanes, drifting, swerving, and almost colliding with other cars or pedestrians.

If you demonstrate any of these visual cues, an officer may have reasonable suspicion to believe that you are driving under the influence. With probable cause, an officer can lawfully pull you over.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact our Ventura DUI defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers today.