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What Indicators of Operating Under the Influence Do Police Check For?

Posted on : October 15, 2020
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If a police officer wants to pull a citizen over on the suspicion of drunk driving, they must first have probable cause or good reason to believe you’re guilty of a crime. Here are some things that law enforcement officers are trained to look for when determining if a driver is operating under the influence or not.  


Drivers who are speeding are often considered by law enforcement to have a high probability of being intoxicated compared to drivers who don’t speed and are able to follow area traffic regulations. If you are speeding or commit any other traffic infraction, a police officer can pull you over on suspicion of OUI. 

Crossing Over Into the Left Lane or Onto the Shoulder 

Intoxicated drivers don’t often have good control of their vehicles and may drift into the other lane or onto the shoulder, so this is something law enforcement officers pay particular attention to. In many cases, the driver will overcorrect the wheel, causing the vehicle to fishtail or swerve and sometimes, resulting in an accident. 

The Appearance of Intoxication by Drugs or Alcohol 

As soon as a law enforcement officer pulls your car over, you’ll be under intense scrutiny for signs of intoxication. Officers generally look for slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, confusion, and uncoordinated movements. However, Massachusetts uses Drug Recognition Experts that may allege you show other, more concrete signs of intoxication, such as high heart rate and blood pressure readings or changes in pupil size upon examination. 

Evidence of Alcohol or Drug Use or Possession in Your Car 

When the police officer steps up to your vehicle to ask for your license and registration, they’re also looking in the windows of your car for any physical evidence that suggests you may be operating under the influence. If the officer sees an empty beer can or half a marijuana cigarette through the window, this gives them enough probable cause to conduct a legal search of your vehicle without your permission or calling a judge to obtain a search warrant. 

How an OUI Attorney Can Fight for Your Rights 

Were you pulled over and charged with operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol? An OUI carries harsh penalties in Massachusetts. Get the legal protection you need by calling my office today.

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