By Erin Gerstenzang

If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you may be wondering what police officers were looking for when they first targeted your vehicle for a traffic stop. Most drivers don’t realize that officers are trained to look for specific cues that could indicate that a driver is impaired.

Officers will first look for how the driver was driving before being pulled over. They will watch for erratic driving, such as weaving, drifting, or swerving. If the driver has problems maintaining proper lane position or driving too slowly, these are potential signs of impairment.

The second thing officers will look for is how the driver responds to the officer’s signals to pull over. If the driver pulls over promptly and safely, this is a good sign that they are not impaired. However, if the driver takes a long time to pull over or responds in an unsafe or erratic manner, this could be a sign of impairment.

Officers will also look for speed and braking problems, such as varying speeds, unnecessary acceleration, or deceleration. If the driver is driving too slowly or stops inappropriately in response to an officer’s signals, this could be a sign of impairment.

Vigilance problems, such as driving without headlights at night or failure to signal, could also be signs of impairment. Officers will also look for judgment problems, such as following too closely, improper lane changes, or illegal turns. Any inappropriate or unusual behavior, such as driving on the wrong side of the road or appearing impaired, could also be a sign of impairment.

It’s important to note that these cues are what officers are trained to look for, but they are not always reliable indicators of impairment. For example, if a driver is pulled over for speeding, which is not on the list of cues, it will be impossible for an officer to determine if the driver is impaired based solely on their driving behavior.

If you have been charged with a DUI, it’s essential to understand the difference between cues and clues. Officers look for cues during the vehicle in motion phase, while clues are associated with field sobriety tests. It’s also important to remember that officers are looking for any signs of impairment, so following their instructions and behaving safely and appropriately is crucial.