When the police pull you over on suspicion of drunk driving, they must have sufficient legal reasons to do so. Otherwise, the stop may be unlawful.
The right against arbitrary searches by law enforcement is vested in the U.S. Constitution, and an illegal stop is a violation of your rights. It could significantly affect the direction of your DUI charges.
Legal reasons for being stopped by the police
Unless at a legally designated DUI checkpoint, the police need reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence to pull you over. However, the threshold is pretty low and any traffic infraction can be sufficient reason to suspect that the driver is driving under the influence.
- You could be driving erratically, speeding or driving too slowly.
- Failing to signal a turn could also indicate that something could be wrong.
- Maybe you forgot to turn your lights on after dusk fell, which attracted the officer’s attention.
- You could be swerving over the yellow line without any apparent reason.
In all these instances, your stop will be legal, and the police can proceed to arrest you if they have probable cause that you are drunk driving.
What if your stop was illegal?
Evidence obtained illegally may be suppressed by the court. As a result, it will be excluded from your trial, no matter how crucial it may be to your case.
Discussing the legality of your DUI stop should be the first thing you should do when crafting your defense. It will safeguard your legal rights and help you go against your DUI charges.