Did you know that it is a violation of your rights when the police stop your vehicle, based on just a hunch, and carry out a sobriety test? Just because law enforcement officers have the authority to pull someone over does not make every traffic stop lawful.
If you are being charged for driving under the influence, here is what you need to know about the legality of your traffic stop.
The police need reasonable suspicion to pull you over
The threshold for reasonable suspicion is not high, and the police can legally pull you over even for the slightest traffic infraction. For instance, if you failed to indicate a turn or were driving too slowly, that can form the basis of reasonable suspicion.
However, if your stop was random and without any justifiable reason, it may be deemed illegal. For example, driving at night – even in an area where there are a lot of bars – is not reason enough to pull you over, and the police need more than that to make your traffic stop legal.
The only exception to this is a traffic stop made at a legal traffic safety checkpoint where law enforcement officers don’t need reasonable suspicion for a stop.
What does it mean for your DUI case?
If your traffic stop is unlawful, any evidence obtained from it may not be admissible in court. Under the doctrine of the fruit of the poisonous tree, any evidence obtained from an illegal action is itself considered illegal.
You may file a request to have such evidence suppressed, which will likely lead to a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you. If you face DUI charges, it is necessary to protect your legal rights given the much at stake. Knowing how to navigate your defense is vital in increasing the chances of a positive outcome for your case.