Question: How do police conduct drunk driving investigations in Maryland? What are they looking for?
Answer: The police typically are really on the lookout after 11 or 12 o’clock at night on any given night, and particularly on the weekends. They will perch themselves in normal locations frequently, simply looking for cars to pull over. They are specifically looking for people who are driving in excess of the speed limit, by typically more than 5 or 10 miles an hour. Albeit if they are having a slow evening, they will really dig deep and pull somebody driving over the speed limit period, even by 5 miles an hour, because they really just want to stop that car and see if the driver has alcohol on their breath. So, if you’re driving over five miles an hour and they don’t have much going on, they won’t hesitate to pull you over for that. They won’t hesitate to pull you over for not wearing a seatbelt, failure to have your headlights on; of course if you’re swerving at all or driving over your lane markers, they’ll get you for that. Another prominent and crappy reason for them to pull you over is if your license plate lights are out and they can’t visualize your license from 75 feet away, they’ll use that as an excuse. So it depends, if they’re having a busy night then they won’t bother if it’s petty things. But if things are slow and if they have to meet their quotas for the brass, they will find any of these reasons to do so.
A driver is well advised to always wear their seatbelt, always drive exactly the speed limit or below it and not to speed. The headlights need to be on and not to change lanes without using a blinker. These are some of the things that the cops will look at to pull you over. And once they pull you over, they’re looking for the smell and odor of alcohol and slurred speech in communicating with people. Once they identify alcohol on your breath, the chances are just about 100% that they’re going to get you out of the car and ask you to do field sobriety tests—which in Maryland, you do not even have to perform and should not, in fact, perform field sobriety tests because they are engineered for a defendant driver to fail in every case.