You’re driving along, and all of a sudden, you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. A police officer is pulling you over, but you have no idea why. You know that you must pull over, but you instantly get nervous. Perhaps you aware of your rights when dealing with law enforcement. The first thing you need to know is that there must be valid grounds in order for a law enforcement officer to stop a driver.
The law states that police must have reasonable suspicion for making a DUI traffic stop. This means there must be a clear reason to pull you over, such as specific behaviors often associated with intoxicated driving. Without reasonable suspicion, a traffic stop is invalid, with could invalidate the case against you. If you are facing DUI charges in Pennsylvania, it is in your interests to review the circumstances of your traffic stop.
What is a valid traffic stop?
Police officers may stop a motorist only if he or she is reasonably sure that a criminal activity is taking place. In terms of suspected drunk driving stops, this means that the driver is acting in certain ways that may indicate he or she is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This can include the following behaviors:
- The driver made an illegal turn.
- The driver was operating the vehicle at erratic speeds.
- The driver was randomly starting or stopping.
- The driver was swerving or driving dangerously.
- The driver came close to hitting other parked or moving vehicles.
There are many other reasons that a police officer could cite as reason to stop a driver. The law grants law enforcement a significant amount of leeway when determining whether there is reasonable suspicion. However, you have the right to challenge the basis for your traffic stop as part of your defense strategy.
The right defense strategy for you
Each case is different, which means that every defense strategy should be as well. If you are facing DUI charges, your personal freedom and future interests are on the line. You have the right to challenge the case against you and fight to avoid a mark on your criminal record. Building the right defense plan for you can start as soon as possible after your arrest.
If you are unsure about the circumstances of your traffic stop or are not certain about the right approach for your defense, you may want to start by seeking a complete assessment of your case. This can help you understand the options available to you.