When can police pull over a driver for suspected drunk driving?
Did you know there are only specific times when law enforcement can pull a driver over for a DUI traffic stop? This means that police cannot pull you over without having a specific reason to do so. This is reasonable suspicion, and without it, a traffic stop for possible intoxicated operation of a motor vehicle may not be valid.
It is in your rights to challenge the DUI case against you. Drunk driving is a serious criminal charge, and penalties, if convicted, can range from expensive fines to time behind bars. A mark on your criminal record can affect the rest of your life, and it's worthwhile to vigorously challenge the evidence brought by the prosecution. This includes evidence collected at the initial traffic stop.
Stopping an Oklahoma driver
How can you know if your initial traffic stop was valid? A complete investigation into the case against you can determine if you experienced a violation of your personal rights or if there is a reason to challenge the traffic stop. In order to have a valid reason to stop a driver, there must be a clear reason to do so. Behaviors that give way to reasonable suspicion include:
- Making an illegal turn
- Driving erratically, including swerving between lanes
- Operating a vehicle at inconsistent speeds -- starting and stopping
- Running a red light or failing to properly yield
- Stopping in the middle of the road with no clear reason to do so
- Braking frequently and without reason
- Hitting parked vehicles or having trouble navigating the car
- Straddling the center line while driving
Having reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop does not automatically mean that an officer has a reason to make an arrest. After pulling a driver over, the police officer may ask the driver a few questions to determine if it is necessary to initiate field sobriety tests and BAC testing. There must be clear probable cause for an arrest, which is a much higher standard than that for making a traffic stop.
After a DUI arrest, it's prudent to remain calm and start working immediately on a defense strategy. It's possible to fight back against these charges and work to protect your future. You may be unsure of where to start or what you can do to protect yourself, and it may be helpful to simply reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn about the options available to you.