Traffic stops must be justified by reasonable suspicion and, when they are not, your lawyer can use this violation to challenge your DUI charges. Discuss your arrest and charges with a Riverside DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
It might feel like police simply pull people over whenever they choose, but the law does put requirements in place for a lawful traffic stop. This is because a random stop would violate your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. This, of course, does not mean that police always act within the confines of the law, as unlawful traffic stops happen on a regular basis.
If a DUI arrest stemmed from an unlawful traffic stop, it can help in your defense. You should let a Riverside DUI lawyer assess your case as soon as possible.
What is Reasonable Suspicion?
In order to make an arrest, police must have probable cause that you committed a crime and obtain a warrant in most situations. However, the standard of justification is different when it comes to traffic stops, as police do not have the opportunity to obtain a warrant before pulling someone over.
For a traffic stop to be lawful, an officer must be able to show they had reasonable suspicion that you violated the law. This violation could be as simple as not using a blinker or having expired license tags. It does not have to be a criminal offense, as they can pull you over based on reasonable suspicion of a Vehicle Code infraction.
Once you are pulled over for a valid reason, the officer can observe for signs of other crimes, which they will certainly do. For example, they will check to see if you smell like alcohol or appear to be impaired. Even if they pulled you over for an unrelated reason, the traffic stop can end in a DUI arrest if they gain probable cause that you were driving under the influence.
What if There was No Reasonable Suspicion?
Sometimes, police officers pull people over not based on reasonable suspicion but for other unlawful reasons. They might be fishing for a drunk driver in an area where impaired driving is common. They might pull someone over out of bias based on race or the type of car they are driving. Regardless of what the unlawful reason was, an illegal stop can play a role in your DUI case.
The law allows the court to suppress any evidence that stems from a violation of your constitutional rights. For example:
- Police officers claim they pulled you over because you ran a red light, but you did not run a light
- The officers then discover you had been drinking and arrest you for DUI
- Your attorney can present to the court that there was no lawful basis for the traffic stop
- If the court finds the stop was unlawful, anything stemming from the stop is suppressed, including evidence that you had been drinking
- Without this evidence, the prosecution cannot prove your DUI case and drops your charges
Speak with a Riverside DUI Lawyer as Soon as Possible
At DeLimon Law, we seek out all possible ways to defend against criminal DUI charges, including identifying violations of your legal rights. Call (951) 382-5559 or contact us online for defense help right away.