If you’re worried that you displayed signs of drunk driving, the question, “Do you have any idea why I’m pulling you over?” can become even more of a minefield than usual. Luckily, a knowledge of the drunk driving patterns and the characteristics of drunk drivers can help you avoid this situation altogether. So, what are the 5 telltale signs of a drunk driver? Exactly how do cops spot drunk drivers? 

Discover the signs of drunk driving that every driver needs to know to avoid being unnecessarily charged with DWI in Texas.

Obvious signs of drunk driving 

1) Swerving in and out of your lane

Everyone drifts within their lane from time to time, but a total inability to stay within your lane is one of the first signs of drunk driving cops looks for while on DWI patrol. Because alcohol decreases your ability to fully focus, it’s common for drunk drivers to swerve severely in and out of their lane.

2) Driving too slowly 

“Maybe if I drive below the speed limit, I won’t seem so suspicious!” Yeah, nice try. The police are way ahead of you on that one. When they see drivers going noticeably below the speed limit (especially at night), they may immediately suspect that you’ve got something to hide. Driving well below the speed limit is not only one of the signs of drunk driving; it can put you and other drivers in danger. The best and safest way to stay out of the spotlight is to go with the flow. 

3) Drinking while driving (passengers included)

This sign of drunk driving may seem like a no brainer, but many people don’t quite understand the open container laws in Texas. If a police officer sees you or a passenger nursing a flask or crushing a beer in your vehicle, they will immediately stop you and test you for DWI. There’s no talking your way out of this one. 

4) Ignoring traffic lights and stop signs

Ignoring traffic lights and stop signs will get you stopped in general, but at night and during holiday weekends, failure to abide by posted traffic signals puts the fact that you may be too intoxicated to properly focus on blast.

5) Expired tags and equipment violations

Now this one has absolutely nothing to do with drinking and driving, but it can still arouse suspicion nonetheless. When cops see a poorly maintained car with a driver who can’t keep up with state regulations, they may be inclined to think that the driver is generally sketchy. Depending on where you are and what time it is, a police officer may be more inclined to suspect you’re up to no good based on these factors. 

How do police catch drunk drivers?

Now here’s the bad news: Once you’ve exhibited signs of drunk driving and are pulled over on suspicion of DWI, it’s unlikely that you’ll get back in your car and drive away without at least having to take some tests first. 

In addition to asking why you think you’re being pulled over, the officer will more than likely ask you how much you’ve had to drink. This is another trick question, as the police are hoping you’ll make their lives easier by admitting to drinking on camera. 

Regardless of your answer, it is likely that you will be asked to perform some basic field sobriety tests such as the walk and turn test, standing on one leg, and/or following a flashlight with your eyes. Some of these tests are difficult for even a sober person to pass. Combine that fact with a high-stress situation and you have an unfair situation on your hands.

You may also be asked to submit to a Breathalyzer test to determine whether or not your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is under the Texas legal alcohol limit of .08. While you can refuse a breath test, we recommend that you don’t. Refusing a Breathalyzer test will likely result in a blood test warrant. Blood tests aren’t just more painful, they’re more accurate and harder to fight in court. Blow, don’t bleed. Trust us on this. 

Got caught because you showed signs of drunk driving?

No one plans to drive under the influence, exhibit signs of drunk driving, or get a DWI. But bad things happen to good people, and bad science can be used to make unfair arrests. 

Knowing the signs of drunk driving can help you drive mindfully so that you can avoid any misunderstandings that can start a DWI investigation. But if you are charged with a DWI, what do you do? A DWI can stay on your record forever, even if you know you’re innocent. Fighting your charges effectively takes serious skills and experience. 

If you or a loved one are facing DWI charges, let board-certified criminal defense attorney Mark Thiessen and his team at the Thiessen Law Firm in Houston fight to protect your rights.

Contact Thiessen Law Firm by calling 713-864-9000 or scheduling a free consultation online today.

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Mark Thiessen

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.