Driving Drunk? What Police Look For

driving drunk indicators police look for in Houston

Texas DWI: What Police Look For 

A Texas DWI is a serious matter, and it requires experienced legal representation. With decades of experience as a Houston DWI lawyer, Herman Martinez knows the ins and outs of law enforcement and court procedures in regard to drunk driving in Harris County. Let us go in-depth about driving drunk indicators that officers look for.

From speeding to missing taillights, police look for any legal reason to pull someone over to examine them for signs of impairment. Below, we want to provide you with a list of signs police officers look for as they decide whether someone might be intoxicated – before and after they pull them over. 

What Driving Drunk Indicators Do the Police Look for When They Search for Drunk Drivers? 

Per research from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the police have a long list of signs to pull from to determine when a person is likely driving while intoxicated.

Here’s a list of some common indicators for drunk driving:

  • Straddling the center lane markings
  • Swerving 
  • Almost hitting an object or other vehicle 
  • Drifting 
  • Stopping in a traffic lane without cause
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Driving more than 10mph below the posted speed limit
  • Erratic braking
  • Weaving 
  • Driving on something that’s not a designated roadway
  • Delayed response to traffic signals
  • Using signals inconsistent with actions 
  • Abrupt or illegal turns
  • Driving at night with headlights off 
  • Rapid acceleration or deceleration 
  • Making wide turns 
  • Driving into oncoming traffic

Curiously, the NHTSA does not list speeding as a sign of drunk driving. Oftentimes, a prosecutor can argue that speeding depicts “risk-taking” behavior related to impaired judgment. However, many officers admit that in reality, a majority of sober people speed at night due to more favorable traffic conditions. 

Texas DWI: What Officers Look for After Pulling You Over 

When it comes to Texas DWI cases, it’s important to remember that law enforcement officers do not always have medical training. Moreover, you are not legally required to submit to a field sobriety test. These notoriously inaccurate tests only help the arrest officer build their case against you. 

Here are some traditional signs of intoxication that many officers are taught to look for:

  • Glassy, bloodshot, or red eyes
  • Slurred speaking 
  • Loss of balance as you exit the vehicle 
  • Smell of alcohol
  • Swaying 
  • Lack of comprehension of questions 
  • Inappropriate behavior – combative, jovial argumentative, etc
  • Stumbling 
  • Inability to follow instructions 
  • Fumbling wallet, license, etc 
  • Lack of awareness 
  • Flushed face 

Facing a Texas DWI? Hire a Houston DWI Lawyer

In Texas, DWI consequences are severe. When you face a DWI conviction, the impact can spread throughout your life. That’s why you need an advocate on your side who understands your situation and how the system works. 

At The Martinez Law Firm, our DWI defense team provides legal representation that acts in your best interests. When you face DWI charges in Harris County, contact the criminal defense attorneys at our firm for a free consultation. We specialize in the complex field of Texas DWIs. At your consultation, your attorney will review your case and guide you through the best strategy available.