Police officers can’t pull a vehicle over just because they feel like it. Instead, they need to have a valid reason to do this.
In the case of drunk driving traffic stops, police officers may see something that leads them to think a driver is impaired. An officer who sees signs of drunk driving has reasonable suspicion, which is the required standard.
1. There has to be reasonable cause for a traffic stop
There are many things that an officer might see that would lead them to think something is amiss. Some of these include:
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Stopping when there’s not a valid reason
- Driving through red lights or stop signs
- Turning without a turn signal
Once the officer pulls you over, they may question you. This could lead to a field sobriety test or chemical test to determine if you’re legally drunk.
2. You have rights during traffic stops
You have rights during this process. One of these is the right to remain silent. It’s a good idea to invoke that right verbally because a prosecutor can use your statements if you’re charged with a crime.
3. Probable cause must occur for an arrest
There has to be a valid reason for you to be arrested. This may be because you failed the field sobriety test. If you fail a roadside breath test, you’ll likely be asked to take another test on a stationary machine or be asked to submit to a blood or urine test. These can establish probable cause for an arrest.
Many components can come together to create a defense strategy to combat a drunk driving charge. Police officers who use improper procedures, including not having a valid reason to initiate a traffic stop, might be points to bring up. Working with someone who’s familiar with these matters is beneficial so you can determine exactly how to proceed.