Reasonable Cause For A Traffic Stop And DUI: What You Need To Know
One of the defenses that a DUI attorney may use to help get a DUI charge you are facing reduced or dismissed is arguing that the police officer who pulled you over did not have reasonable cause to do so. By law, an officer must have reasonable cause to pull you over. As a defendant, you may not understand what this means and how it can be a defense. Here is what you need to know about reasonable cause for a traffic stop and a DUI.
What Is Reasonable Cause for a Traffic Stop?
Reasonable cause means that a police officer must have a reason to pull you over for a traffic stop. For example, a police officer can pull over someone who is speeding, who runs a stop sign, who has expired registration, or who is weaving in and out of traffic. A police officer simply cannot follow you and pull you over because they saw you leaving a bar. You have to have committed a traffic infraction or have been driving in such a way that you put yourself or the public at risk.
How Can a DUI Attorney Use Reasonable Cause to Help Your Case?
If a police officer pulls you over without reasonable cause and you are subsequently charged with and arrested for a DUI, your DUI defense attorney will be able to argue that the stop was not legal. If the police officer did not make the illegal stop, you likely would not have been charged with a DUI. As such, since the police officer was not following the law when they pulled you over, the charges against you will most likely be dropped or dismissed. In most cases, a hearing will be set before a judge prior to a trial happening to discuss the legality of the traffic stop. A judge will then make a determination on if it was legal or not.
Are There Exceptions to the Reasonable Cause Law?
There are two key exceptions to the reasonable cause law. Officers can set up DUI checkpoints and check everyone passing through without reasonable cause. There are cases pending that are challenging checkpoints, but so far, courts have upheld the rights of officers to use them. Secondly, if you are pulled over to the side of the road, such as when you get a flat tire, an officer is allowed to stop and help. If they suspect you are drunk, they are legally allowed to proceed with sobriety field testing and, if needed, arresting you.
A DUI is a serious charge. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you need someone to help you navigate the court system and ensure you are being treated fairly. A DUI attorney can ensure the stop was legal, and if it wasn't, they can fight to get the charges against you dismissed.