What Florida Law Enforcement Officers Look For to Make a DUI Traffic Stop

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a severe offense in Florida. Law enforcement officers always look for signs that a driver may be impaired and won’t hesitate to make a traffic stop if they observe many behaviors. In fact, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), law enforcement wrote 44,185 DUI citations, with 68% leading to guilty verdicts in 2023 alone.

There’s no question that drunk or drugged driving is wrong. Yet, it’s equally unjust to charge someone with a DUI without incontrovertible evidence of their guilt. Fighter Law is here to help ensure your rights are protected if you were unfairly charged with a DUI.

What Signs Signal to Florida Police That a Driver May Be Under the Influence?

Florida law enforcement officers are essential in spotting impaired drivers and taking them off the roads to avoid accidents. Doing so saves countless innocent lives. Although individual police officers might have personal opinions on which behaviors seem suspect, certain driving behaviors universally trigger officers’ suspicions, often resulting in a DUI traffic stop. These signs may include:

Erratic Driving Behaviors

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) has developed a compilation of irregular driving behaviors to alert law enforcement officers to drivers who may be too impaired to control a motor vehicle, including:

  • Swerving
  • Following other drivers too closely
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Making unusually wide turns
  • Abrupt or illegal turns

These behaviors often signal to law enforcement that a driver may be under the influence, warranting a closer examination.

Traffic Offenses

Committing traffic violations like running a red light, stopping abruptly or without cause, speeding, or driving significantly below the speed limit can attract the attention of police officers. These actions raise suspicions and provide a legal basis for a traffic stop, allowing officers to investigate further.

Delayed Reactions

Officers observe how quickly drivers respond to traffic signals, road signs, or their commands. Delayed reactions, such as slow starts at green lights or failure to respond to stop signs, can indicate impairment and lead to a DUI investigation.

Physical Signs of Impairment

Visible signs of impairment due to drugs or alcohol, such as red eyes, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol, are clear indicators for law enforcement officers. When officers notice these signs during a traffic stop or checkpoint, they have a solid basis to conduct a DUI investigation.

Behavioral Symptoms of Impairment

Behavior plays a crucial role in an officer’s assessment. Agitation, confusion, difficulty following instructions, and erratic behavior are significant indicators of impairment. Such behaviors, especially when combined with physical signs, strongly suggest that a driver is under the influence.

Tips for Sober Drivers to Avoid Suspicion of a DUI in Florida

To avoid and adeptly handle DUI encounters, ensure that you:

  • Adhere to safe driving practices by observing traffic rules like speed limits and road signs and avoiding distractions like mobile phones is vital to avert DUI suspicion.
  • Know your rights. For example, presenting identification is required, but self-incriminating responses are not. Refusing sobriety tests is also an option, though Florida’s implied consent law could impose penalties for breathalyzer refusal at a station. 
  • Maintain composure with law enforcement by engaging with officers calmly and respectfully.

Driving while impaired carries severe penalties, yet it’s also beneficial for sober drivers to understand strategies for evading suspicion and effectively engaging with law enforcement if stopped.

Consult an Experienced Florida DUI Defense Attorney

If you face DUI charges, remember you don’t have to face this challenging situation alone. At Fighter Law, we stand ready to defend your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your case. Our team provides a robust defense strategy tailored to your unique situation, emphasizing a personalized and understanding approach to legal representation.

Choosing Fighter Law means you’re choosing a team committed to your defense. Our board-certified team, including Attorney Thomas Feiter, understands the stress that accompanies a DUI charge, and we are dedicated to providing straightforward, effective legal assistance. To discuss your case, schedule a free consultation with our seasoned DUI defense attorneys by calling (407) 344-4837 or completing our contact form.


Call Now


Ask Us a Question!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.