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What is reasonable suspicion in DUI cases?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2023 | DUI |

More than 35 people are killed in drunk-driving crashes every day in the U.S. Thus, tackling drunk-driving is a top priority for law enforcement. Police officers have numerous powers at their disposal to address this issue, but they cannot act with impunity.

Generally, officers must have a reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed before pulling a vehicle over. Reasonable suspicion can be a tricky term to define, but outlined below are some common examples.

Exceeding the speed limit

Throughout the state of Kentucky and its municipalities, there are speed limits posted that drivers cannot exceed. If law enforcement records a car traveling at a high speed, then this gives them authority to conduct a stop.

Vehicle faults

Law enforcement in each county in Kentucky are responsible for overseeing the roadworthiness of vehicles. Vehicles are required to obtain a Kentucky title or undergo a certified inspection before being permitted to travel. An obvious fault with the vehicle, such as damaged bodywork or a shattered windscreen will likely result in its driver being pulled over.

Other violations

The most common reason that vehicles are stopped is any form of erratic driving. For instance, if a driver displays aggressive behavior such as tailgating, or changing lanes often and suddenly, this could amount to the reasonable suspicion required for a traffic stop.

Reasonable suspicion only means that law enforcement can lawfully pull you over, you cannot be charged on this basis alone. To face criminal charges, a higher standard of probable cause is needed. This can include things such as the driver smelling of alcohol, slurring their speech or failing a breathalyzer test. To question the lawfulness of your traffic stop, you should can – and likely should – seek legal guidance.