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2 legal concepts crucial to DUI stops

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2023 | DUI Defense

Just because the police stop you and charge you with driving under the influence (DUI) does not necessarily mean you will get a conviction. There are plenty of ways to contest the charges and many people successfully do so each year.

One method is to challenge two key legal concepts known as reasonable suspicion and probable cause.

Reasonable suspicion

You need to look at why the police asked you to pull over. What had you done wrong? Or what did they think you had done wrong? Valid reasons to pull you over might include:

  • You were driving in a way that suggested you might be drunk
  • A car matching your description had been reported as involved in a robbery
  • Your tail light or indicators were not working
  • You were traveling too fast 

As you can see, the reasonable suspicion needed to justify the initial stop does not need to be for reasons related to alcohol impairment, which gives the police wide scope to try and justify their actions.

Probable cause

If you cannot challenge the reason for the stop, you may be able to challenge the reason for the arrest. What grounds did the police have to suspect that you were driving drunk?

  • Did your breath stink of alcohol?
  • Were you slurring your words?
  • Did you fail a field sobriety test?
  • Did you fail a breathalyzer test?

If you feel the police did not have a valid reason to stop you or arrest you, it’s important to talk through what happened with someone who can give you a qualified opinion. If it appears you do have grounds to contest the charge, you can work together to build your case.