You're on your way home from a night out, and suddenly, you see flashing blue lights behind. A suspected drunk driving traffic stop can lead to an arrest, and next thing you know, you may be facing criminal charges and other penalties. The implications of a DUI traffic stop are significant.
Pennsylvania law enforcement cannot pull you over simply because they want to. There must be a valid reason to stop a driver. There are laws that prohibit unreasonable stops and the harassment of citizens who are not breaking the law. If police notice a driver exhibiting behaviors that could potentially indicate drunk driving, this is reasonable suspicion. Without reasonable suspicion, however, a DUI traffic stop is invalid.
Why did they stop you?
Police can initiate a traffic stop for many reasons. They may pull someone over because the driver is speeding, or they may stop a driver if his or her taillight is out or the tag is expired. When it comes to a potential DUI traffic stop, there are certain things that could give an officer the reason to believe a person is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some of these things include:
- Swerving between lanes
- Driving at erratic speeds
- Stopping and speeding up for no apparent reason
- Hitting a parked car or a stationary object
- Difficulty maintaining the lane
- Making an illegal turn
Police have a certain amount of authority to make a traffic stop if it seems reasonable under the circumstances. However, you can challenge this reasoning as part of your defense. It is within your rights to contend that the officer misinterpreted your actions or was simply wrong in pulling you over.
If you believe that your traffic stop was invalid, it could undermine the entire case against you. It is important to act quickly to preserve evidence and start developing a defense strategy that will help you effectively confront these charges.
Your future is at stake
Whether it's your first DUI offense or you have others on your record, you would be wise to fight for your future. A conviction can lead to everything from time behind bars to expensive fines, but you do not have to fight back alone. You will find it beneficial to reach out to an experienced drunk driving defense attorney to better understand how to proceed with your defense. Your interests and personal freedom are worth protecting.