Why DUI Officers Pull Over Some Drivers and Not Others

In almost all DUI cases, motorists are either stopped because of something the officer claims they did wrong or contacted as a result of an accident. Both the circumstances of the accident, as well as the driving itself, may be good or bad evidence. It all depends on what the officer claims you did, or didn’t do while behind the wheel.

In order to prove DUI or DWAI in Colorado, a prosecutor must convince the jury, beyond reasonable doubt, that a driver were less able than he or she ordinarily would have been to operate a motor vehicle. One of the major determining factors for a jury is what the driving was like before the police contacted the driver.

Police officers are trained to look for signs of impairment in your driving. This can be before, during, or after they lit you up. The training that police rely on comes from the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 1966 NHTSA was formed to disseminate public information about the dangers of impaired driving, education programs, traffic safety legislation, a general aging law enforcement standards to follow for DUI detection.

NHTSA provides driving “cues” of impaired driving in its training materials. Currently there are 24 cues that are indicative of impaired driving. They are:

Problems Maintaining Proper Lane Position

• Weaving

• Weaving across lane lines

• Straddling a lane line

• Swerving

• Turning with a wide radius

• Drifting

• Almost striking a vehicle or other object


Speed and Braking Problems

• Stopping problems (too far, too short, or too jerky)

• Accelerating or decelerating for no apparent reason

• Varying speed

• Slow speed (10+ mph under limit)


Vigilance Problems

• Driving in opposing lanes or wrong way on one-way

• Slow response to traffic signals

• Slow or failure to respond to officer’s signals

• Stopping in lane for no apparent reason

• Driving without headlights at night

• Failure to signal or signal inconsistent with action


Judgment Problems

• Following too closely

• Improper or unsafe lane change

• Illegal or improper turn (too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.)

• Driving on other than the designated roadway

• Stopping inappropriately in response to officer

• Inappropriate or unusual behavior (throwing, arguing, etc.)

• Appearing to be impaired


It should be noted that exhibiting none of the above cues does not mean the prosecution cannot prove its case, nor does it mean that any one of the above violations only occurs when a driver is impaired. If you did not commit any of the above offenses and were contacted for some other reason, such as speeding, the DUI investigation continued because the officer started to suspect you were impaired when he or she contacted you.

impaired driving

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