Getting charged with driving under the influence (DUI) carries varying penalties. What jail time, fines and other consequences motorists found guilty of a DUI will face depends on whether it is a first offense or not and other factors as well.
The penalties for driving under the influence are often much too harsh for drivers who make a simple mistake. But, do the police have a right to stop you on suspicion of driving under the influence?
Reasonable suspicion is the key
The police must have reasonable suspicion to stop motorists they suspect of being impaired by legal or illegal substances. Some of the signs they look for include weaving from lane to lane, driving too fast or too slow, ignoring road signs or operating a vehicle in any other erratic way.
Police do not normally have a right to stop motorists simply because they observe them near an establishment that serves alcohol. When motorists who are driving normally and within legal limits are stopped for suspicion of a DUI, they may have a solid defense against the charge based on the lack of reasonable suspicion.
Proving police did not have a right to stop you in the first place can lead to charges being dropped and avoiding the severe penalties that come with them. However, this is not always easy to accomplish, especially considering that police will not necessarily let you know why they stopped you. Instead, they will proceed to ask for credentials, look for signs of intoxication and possibly ask for a field sobriety test. If they can, they may demand a chemical breath or blood test if they believe you to be under the influence.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, make sure that you fully explore your avenues of defense, which may definitely include the lack of proper cause for the traffic stop. Working with experienced legal guidance is the best way to potentially obtain a positive outcome for your case.