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What does reasonable suspicion have to do with DUI?

One of the most upsetting things that can happen to a motorist in Arizona is to see the blue and red flashing police lights in your rear-view mirror. Immediately, drivers can get nervous and scared. Drivers ask themselves "Why am I being pulled over?"

The answer to this question can be more important than drivers may initially realize if the traffic stop turns into an arrest for drunk driving. This is because in general, a traffic stop must be executed based on an officer's reasonable suspicion that a driver has violated a law. If is it not, any charges resulting from the stop -- including DUI -- could be dismissed. In this post, we will be looking at some of the reasons why officers may pull you over.

In order for a traffic stop to be considered reasonable, officers must have cause to believe that a driver might have broken a law. They can then pull someone over to investigate. For example, a driver can be stopped if he or she:

  • Runs through a stop sign or traffic light
  • Swerves in and out of a lane
  • Exhibits erratic braking or accelerating behaviors
  • Strikes or almost strikes an object or person
  • Speeds or drives too slowly
  • Fails to wear a seatbelt

Any of these conditions could prompt a police officer to pull a driver over, and could be argued as a potential sign of intoxication. 

Officers in Arizona are aggressive in their pursuit of drunk drivers. The nationwide campaign to enforce DUI laws combined with state funding requirements puts pressure on local authorities to crack down on these drivers. However, motorists still have rights that cannot be ignored in the pursuit of increasing enforcement numbers.

Confirming that a traffic stop was legally executed is often one of the first steps in crafting a defense against DUI. While you may not be sure how to do this, an attorney experienced in DUI defense will. Legal support can help you better understand your rights and your options for defending yourself against serious charges.

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