Swerving And Weaving As Reasonable Suspicion For a DWI Stop

   One of the most common reasons given by law enforcement to stop a potentially impaired driver is swerving and weaving amongst the marked traffic lanes. Police know that this is one of the most  reliable indicators that a driver may be impaired. However, weaving is not necessarily always granted as reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop. This means if the weaving is not sufficient, the stop is no good and the DWI charges should be dismissed. 

   So what is sufficient weaving to justify stopping a vehicle? While considering 4th Amendment protection and NC law,  NC courts have developed case law that leaves "sufficient" up to the facts of the case. NC legal scholars use the phrase "weaving plus", which essentially means weaving and some other facts articulated by police to indicate impaired driving may be occurring. For example, courts have reasoned that driving is nothing more than controlled weaving, because a vehicle and motorist cannot track on perfectly straight line. However, if weaving is accompanied by other factors, such as leaving an establishment that serves alcohol, or driving 10-15 mph below the speed limit, then the "weaving plus" requirement may be satisfied. 

   Also, courts have tended to indicate that weaving alone may be enough, if the weaving is significant and carried on for substantial lengths. So weaving at least semi-recklessly, crossing marked lines, etc. may suffice for a clean stop. 

   If you believe you were stopped for DWI for no good reason, a successful motion to suppress can render the charges invalid. With weaving being one of the most commonly cited reasons for DWI stops, it makes sense to have your DWI attorney analyze the nature of any weaving you were cited or stopped on. If you've been charged with DWI in Asheville or surrounding Western NC areas, call a local Asheville DWI lawyer today:


CALL NOW: 828-575-8417