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Without reasonable suspicion, DUI charges may not stick

Traffic stops happen on a daily basis. While on your way to work, you may have seen multiple vehicles stopped on the side of the road with a police officer leaning in the window to talk to the driver. You may have even been stopped on one or more occasion due to driving over the speed limit or having a tail light out.

At the time of the past interactions with law enforcement, you may have taken the ticket and been on your way. However, a more recent stop may have left you facing more serious charges of driving under the influence. Whether you had a drink or two before getting behind the wheel or were completely sober, the allegations mean you need a criminal defense.

Why did the officer pull you over?

When considering your defense options, you may first want to assess the traffic stop and the actions that led to your arrest. In particular, the reason why the officer stopped you could play a significant role in your case. Law enforcement cannot stop a vehicle without cause or reasonable suspicion for doing so. This rule means that a valid reason must exist for the officer pulling you over. Some actions that could give reason for a traffic stop include:

  • Failing to remain in the correct lane
  • Swerving
  • Unnecessary braking
  • Unnecessary stopping
  • Illegal or erratic maneuvers
  • Driving in both lanes
  • Hitting or coming close to hitting other vehicles or objects
  • Driving well below the speed limit

While these specific examples may cause an officer to suspect that you are under the influence, you could also get pulled over for other reasons. Speeding, a broken tail light, running a red light or other actions could result in a traffic stop. If the officer suspects that you are under the influence after that initial stop, he or she may investigate further.

Did reasonable suspicion exist?

If you believe that the officer stopped your vehicle without a valid reason and then proceeded to take you into custody for DUI, this information could act as part of your criminal defense. Without reasonable suspicion for pulling you over, evidence gathered during the subsequent investigation could prove inadmissible in court. Without the ability to use that evidence, the charges against you could be dismissed. Because this outcome would work in your favor, you may want to closely assess your case for any mistakes on the part of law enforcement.

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