Reasonable Suspicion And DUI Stops
It can be challenging to overcome the limitations placed on you after receiving a DUI conviction. Many people who have been arrested for a DUI opt to work with an attorney to fight these charges.
One of the ways that an attorney can help you dispute your DUI arrest is by proving the arresting officer didn't have reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place.
If you understand what reasonable suspicion is, you can better determine how it plays a role in your DUI case.
What is Reasonable Suspicion?
Reasonable suspicion is the basis upon which an officer may decide to pull someone over or to let the individual keep driving. This standard prevents officers from pulling over innocent drivers without cause.
Your attorney can work with you to determine if the officer who pulled you over had reasonable suspicion. Some actions that could be considered reasonable suspicion include crossing the center line while driving, driving slower than the posted speed limit, and stopping without reason.
The arresting officer should list their reasonable suspicion in the police report created at the time of your arrest.
What is Probable Cause?
Many people confuse probable cause with reasonable suspicion. Both play a role in any DUI arrest, but they differ slightly in their burden of proof.
Probable cause must be present for an officer to make a lawful arrest. Reasonable suspicion gives an officer the authority to begin a DUI investigation. This means that if no reasonable suspicion was present, a subsequent DUI arrest cannot be considered lawful.
Your attorney can help determine if your DUI arrest should be thrown out of court due to a lack of reasonable suspicion, even if probable cause for an arrest was present.
Are There Any Exceptions?
There are times when reasonable suspicion will not matter in a DUI investigation. The Supreme Court has decided that preventing drunk driving outweighs a driver's Fourth Amendment right against unlawful detainment.
This decision means that an officer can stop you at a DUI checkpoint without reasonable suspicion. If you were arrested at such a checkpoint, your attorney can help you determine if your vehicle was searched without cause or if you were stopped for an unreasonable amount of time.
If the reasonableness of the stop and detainment is in question, you will be able to contest your DUI arrest with the help of an attorney in court. Contact a DUI lawyer for more information.