In today's society, law enforcement in all states are vigilant in its pursuit of drunk drivers. The police officer's first contact with a suspected drunk driver is when that driver's car is pulled over. This is known as a motor vehicle stop, and when you have been drinking, this is when your heart stops. It is important to know that with few exceptions, police officers may lawfully stop a vehicle in the following situations:
Step-by-Step Guide: Step 2 – The Traffic Stop
As a general rule, if one of these conditions is not met, the stop of the vehicle is unlawful and can be used a defense to the charge of DUI. Prosecuting attorneys will try to make a compelling argument that all of the conditions were met and that your stop was legitimate. It is at this point that you need a skilled lawyer on your side to defend your rights, and hold both the court, and the prosecution to the law.
- The officer observes the driver commit a motor vehicle violation
- The officer, based on a "totality of the circumstances," forms a "reasonable suspicion" that the driver is committing a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving after imbibing (DAI) violation or that some other criminal activity has occurred or is occurring
- Pursuant to a lawfully executed sobriety checkpoint, commonly known as a "roadblock"