In order to lawfully pull you over, a police officer must have a legitimate reason. In legal terms, the justification for initiating a traffic stop is called reasonable suspicion.
What Constitutes Reasonable Suspicion?
In a DUI case, police must actually satisfy the requirement of reasonable suspicion twice: once to initiate the traffic stop, and again to initiate a DUI investigation.
Typically, officers will cite suspicion of a traffic violation, equipment violation or criminal activity as the reason for pulling a vehicle over. This could include anything from a broken taillight to weaving between lanes. It is a pretty low bar to satisfy, but it still must be more than just a hunch.
Once the officer has pulled you over and approached your vehicle, he or she must establish reasonable suspicion of drunk or impaired driving before beginning a DUI investigation. Some of the more common reasons we often hear include smelling an “odor of alcohol,” bloodshot eyes or slurred speech.
An officer cannot arrest you based on just a reasonable suspicion. He or she must develop probable cause of a crime being committed in order to justify an arrest.
Challenging Reasonable Suspicion
If the arresting officer’s reasons for pulling you over and conducting a DUI investigation are not sufficient, then the state’s case against you is compromised and should be dismissed.
This is why our attorneys always challenge every aspect of the traffic stop and the investigation as well as the administration and results of field sobriety tests and chemical BAC tests.
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