What signs does a police officer look for if he/she suspects that a driver is intoxicated?

There are many signs that a police officer will look for when he or she initially pulls a vehicle over, especially if the officer has any indication that alcohol may be involved.

The police officer will likely analyze the situation by going asking himself or herself these questions:

  • Is there an odor of alcohol emanating from the individual or the vehicle?
  • Are there signs of open container use in the car?
  • Does the driver have slurred speech?
  • Does he or she have glassy or red eyes? Is the driver excessively nervous?
  • Does he or she have ability to respond to the officer’s questions in an intelligent and thoughtful manner?
  • If the police officer asks him or her for documentation, can the driver get that documentation without fumbling?

These are all indicators that an officer will be looking for, and if a person does not meet or fails any of those indicators, then the officer may go on to the next step, which is some type of informal questioning, or move directly to a field sobriety test.