The Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. Therefore, the police must have a justifiable basis for pulling you over if they suspect you are driving while intoxicated. In legalese, this is known as a reasonable suspicion.
It means there must be facts or circumstances that point to the possibility of criminal activity, which in this case is driving under the influence (DUI). Sometimes, this can make a difference between a legal and illegal DUI traffic stop, which can have far-reaching implications on your case.
Understanding the importance of reasonable suspicion in the traffic stop preceding your arrest is essential in safeguarding your legal rights. Here is what you need to know.
What amounts to reasonable suspicion?
Reasonable suspicion is anything more than a hunch or vague suspicion that leads a police officer to believe that a crime may be in progress or has occurred. Remember, the police need not be sure you are drunk before pulling you over.
A traffic infraction, erratic driving or stopping for no reason are some indicators that could give rise to reasonable suspicion, legally justifying a traffic stop.
Why does it matter?
While there are some legal exceptions, such as DUI checkpoints, a traffic stop by law enforcement may be considered unlawful if the police lacked reasonable suspicion when pulling you over. The evidence from the illegal traffic stop may not be admissible in court, which can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case against you.
It’s important to understand that reasonable suspicion is a flexible and fact-specific standard. Each case is unique, and what constitutes reasonable suspicion can vary based on the circumstances. Reaching out for legal assistance can help you work toward the best possible outcome in your case and safeguard your interests.