In order to arrest someone for driving under the influence, the police must first have reasonable suspicion to pull them over.  If the police lacked reasonable suspicion, then any evidence flowing from the stop, including an arrest, is illegal and can be thrown out.

The vehicle stop itself is not an arrest.  It’s simply a brief, investigatory detention.  Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard that probable cause (which is what’s needed for an arrest).  The police must be able to point to specific and articulable facts in developing reasonable suspicion.  It has to be more than just a hunch.  They can’t pull someone over simply because they suspect the driver of being under the influence.  It has to be a specific act, such as a traffic violation for speeding or not wearing seat belt. It can also be a combination of facts, such as erratic driving at a late hour of the night, near a place that serves alcohol.

Whatever factors are used in developing reasonable suspicion, the officer does not always have to observe them first hand.  The information could come from another police officer, or even an anonymous call.

As a Southaven DUI defense lawyer, I always look at the traffic stop as the first line of defense.  Why were you pulled over?  Did the police have reasonable suspicion to stop you?  I’ll investigate these issues to see if the police conducted an unlawful stop and seizure.  If so, a motion to suppress would be filed to have the arrest and all other evidence dismissed.

Do not think that, just because you’ve been charged with DUI, you’re guilty.  There may be ways to challenge your case and see the charges cleared.  Southaven DUI lawyer Patrick Stegall can help.  For more information, contact him at pstegall@stegall-law.com or by phone at (901) 205-9894.

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