This article will address only DUI stops as they pertain to traffic stops, not DUI checkpoints. If a police officer sees you speeding or changing lanes without signaling, then the officer may pull you over and give you a ticket. In that situation, the officer has both a reasonable suspicion and affirmative evidence of criminal behavior. But how does this apply to DUIs? Officers are unable to determine if you are drunk unless they test you. This article will go over how an officer may pull you over.
Police can generally stop any car if they reasonably suspect that criminal activity as occurred. Reasonable suspicion means that there is enough objective evidence to lead a reasonable officer to believe that criminal activity (i.e. drunk driving) occurred in the car. Police can rely on their visual observations, like:
- Erratic driving or braking.
- Swerving in lanes and nearly hitting other cars.
- Taking illegal turns or failing to signal.
- Driving too fast or too slow.
Any number of situations that could give rise a police officer's suspicion can be used as justification to pull a car over. Once the officer pulls over the car, he or she may investigate for further evidence related to the suspected crime. In this case, the officer may conduct a field sobriety test to confirm if the driver is sober or drunk.
If you were stopped by the police for a DUI, you may want to speak to an attorney. As illustrated above, the police must follow strict procedures when investigating a car for suspicious activity. If at any time the police violate your rights or overstep their authority, then you may be able to raise it during your defense. An attorney can go over the circumstances of your stop to try and determine if anything improper occurred.