Unfair DUI Arrest Tactics – Reasonable Suspicion for DUI Stops

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Importance of the DUI Arrest in Court

Your DUI Arrest will most likely become the targeted piece of evidence in court. Despite many other variables that can sway outcomes; the manner of which your arrest process began can be the most reliable source of evidence to dismiss all charges. Even with a failed sobriety test, failed breath test, and a failed blood test, your chances to completely dismiss all charges may lye solely on the DUI Arrest you endured through.

Proper challenging of all aspects of your arrest can be done only by DUI attorneys who specialize in this area. Your ability to choose the best legal representation will require a respected resource like DUIRights.com. We specialize in helping people like yourself who DO NOT deserve the full punishment of an unfair legal system. Fill out the FREE DUI Evaluation form to get immediate help.

What is Considered Reasonable Suspicion?

Law enforcement officers can generally stop drivers for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or another traffic violation when they have “reasonable suspicion” that the driver is involved in criminal activity – DUI checkpoints are still a debatable exception to this rule in some states. When a law enforcement officer has “reasonable suspicion” that a driver has been involved in illegal activity or an offense has taken place, he or she can stop the driver and temporarily detain him or her for an investigation. Should the officer suspect the driver of being under the influence after the investigation, the officer can investigate further.

During a DUI investigation, an officer can choose to employ a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test to determine whether the driver is impaired. This means that when a driver is arrested for DUI, the law enforcement officers begin with reasonable suspicion that a crime has taken place even if it had not. Even if drivers are intoxicated when they are arrested, their case can be thrown out if the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to pull them over in the first place.

What Can be Considered Reasonable Suspicion?

Reasonable suspicion that a driver is under the influence can be established by any of the following observations:

  • Making an illegal turn
  • Riding the center line of the road
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Erratic or extremely fast/slow driving
  • Coming close to hitting other vehicles or objects along the road
  • Braking frequently
  • Stopping the vehicle in the middle of the road for no good reason

This is not the full list of observations that be used for reasonable suspicion – anything a law enforcement officer believes to be a sign of the driver being impaired can be considered reasonable suspicion. Additionally, law enforcement officers can begin a DUI investigation if they see signs of the driver being impaired even if they initially pulled the driver over for an unrelated violation, such as the driver having a headlight or taillight that was not working.

Probable Cause vs. Reasonable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion allows a law enforcement officer to stop and temporarily detain a driver as a means to investigate further whereas the officer needs “probable cause” to further his or her investigation and potentially make an arrest. Probable cause means that the law enforcement officer has evidence to support the driver having likely committed a crime, which justifies the driver being arrested. For DUI traffic stops, probable cause would include breathalyzer test results that showed a high BAC level.