Can You Be Stopped for DUI for Swerving?
It is important for every driver today to know what constitutes probable cause for DUI, so a person can be proactive at knowing how to legally defend themselves if unjustly stopped by police.
Many drivers believe that if law enforcement officers see them swerving while driving, it gives them enough reason to incite a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) traffic stop. However with many DUI & DWI arrests after they have been carefully reviewed for a winning legal defense, it is often found there was no probable cause for a DUI offense when proper legal help is obtained in enough time to examine what exactly took place.
The truth is police officers cannot pull drivers over on a “hunch” that they are intoxicated just because they drive away from a bar parking lot or are on the road in the early hours of the morning. In order for police officers to make a DUI traffic stop, they need what is called “reasonable suspicion” that a traffic violation was committed. When after an arrest review happens and it can identify defenses early on for valid reasons why a driver may have swerved, the chances to beat a first offense DUI, DWI case is drastically increased.
Furthermore, there is free legal defense help for drivers who still want to fight to get a DUI dismissed for a charge that happened with no probable cause, and who cannot currently afford to hire a private DUI, DWI defense attorney. In financial situations when an individual cannot afford legal fees, many local law firms offer pro bono DUI defense for free or very little cost. A person who feels they were charged with a DUI-related offense without valid cause, should never hesitate having an arrest review that explores every available legal defense option to fight the charges to get thrown out.
When looking for possibly intoxicated drivers, police officers look for signs of a DUI offense with individuals driving erratically, since this is a clear sign of driving while intoxicated. While swerving can be a sign of intoxicated driving, drifting out of the lane once is often not enough to pull drivers over. Again, officers need reasonable suspicion in order to incite the traffic stop, and seven of the most common signs of the violations they use to make a traffic stop include:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Driving at an excess speed
- Texting or talking on the phone while driving (depending on the state’s laws)
- Failure to use turn signals
- Failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign
- Not turning on headlights when needed
- Driving with an expired registration tag
Swerving can be an indication of drunk or drugged driving and can alert officers to the possibility of drinking and driving being to blame for the erratic behavior. While swerving can indicate an intoxicated driver, it can also indicate the individual is texting while driving or otherwise driving distracted. This is why swerving without any additional evidence of intoxication is not enough reason to pull a driver over for a DUI traffic stop.
Should law enforcement officers want to pull drivers over, they can very easily find a way to do so. Once they have pulled a driver over for a traffic violation, whatever that violation may be, they can then look for further signs that the driver is intoxicated. Officers look for signs that include alcohol on the breath, bloodshot eyes, or slurred speech in order to determine if the driver is or is not under the influence of alcohol. If it is determined the driver is intoxicated, he or she can be arrested for DUI charges.
Legal Defenses How to Fight No Probable Cause DUI Charges and Win The Case
Can the police pull you over without probable cause? No, it is not legal in every state for a police officer to pull over a driver without probable cause. Regardless of whether it is a local police department or State Trooper, police are not allowed to stop a driver at random just to check for DUI impairment or drug intoxication. All cops must first have a legally valid reason to stop a vehicle, with a rational, “probable cause” such as excessive swerving, speeding, expired tags, or driving without headlights on.
When building a strong defense for how to fight a DUI or DWI charge when there was no probable cause to get pulled over and stopped in the first place, there are a number of issues that can be challenged to help win the case in court. The prosecution attorney must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt that a person’s ability to drive was impaired or that a driver’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was over the legal limit during the time they were driving their car. Any Breathalyzer or DUI blood test evidence collected by the police must have been administered properly, and processed in a manner under the latest DUI laws and guidelines that didn’t violate a driver’s rights.
For example, after reviewing a driver’s arrest details online, it is often found that the arresting officer did not have proper reason or legal cause for why they stopped or pulled over a driver. When a top local lawyer finds case-winning defenses for DUI cases with police errors after an arrest review, a lawyer will have the best chance to win by taking legal action to get any DUI breath or blood test evidence collected, kept out of court from being used against a person. Therefore if the police did not have reasonable and valid probable cause to stop someone in the first place, the local DUI attorney reviewing the arrest can get to work in having the BAC testing evidence suppressed from evidence against a driver in court.
Another way in how a lawyer who analyzes the arrest information can help fight no probable cause DUI charges, is challenging the Breathalyzer or blood test equipment used to process the test samples. Looking at test device maintenance records is crucial in any type of DUI or DWI defense and can help win a case, since this testing equipment must also have been functioning according to the strict chemical test policy and must have been given in the correct way under the established rules.
How To Determine What Probable Cause is For a DUI Offense Case
The simple fact of being stopped or pulled over for any of the previously mentioned common traffic infractions, does not automatically give probable cause for a DUI or DWI charge offense. After a driver is first pulled over, a person does not have not have to answer the officer’s possible incriminating questions, which they are very likely to ask. This is because the police will always be trying to look for any slightest sign to justify a driving under the influence charge – which is most commonly: eyes that are red or bloodshot, slurred speech, not understanding directions of the DUI field sobriety tests, and the smell of alcohol on a driver’s breath.
Most police officers who begin to suspect a DUI offense and trying to retroactively build probable cause after the fact of the initial reason of stopping a driver, will ask the driver if they have had any alcohol beverages to drink. In this type of scenario at this point, a driver’s best option might very well be to only respond by saying they would like to talk with a lawyer before answering any other questions.
Even though this response will not make the officer very happy, if a person lies and says they have not had any drinks when they actually did, it could cause even more problems later on after the arrest. Additionally, when a person admits to having alcoholic drinks, they will then most definitely be asked to take a breath or blood test, on top of the roadside field sobriety tests.
Whether or not the police had no probable cause for pulling over a driver and the subsequent DUI arrest charge, a good local DUI attorney who reviews the arrest information online with us will help protect a driver’s rights to make sure the arresting police had probable cause to stop a person to begin with. This is where some of the best strategies of defense can be found in finding the information necessary for ways how to successfully fight and win a DUI case when probable cause during the traffic stop is in question.
Probable cause for a DUI traffic stop is one of the most important factors with any DUI-related arrest. A police officer must have reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause to pull someone over. Learn how to challenge a DUI and win by showing there was not enough reason for the traffic stop in the first place. An arrest review will help find the best no probable cause defenses to get a DUI dismissed for charges that originated in a parked car, for speeding, the odor of alcohol, and DUI, DWI cases with no proof of driving.
Probable Cause for DUI Stop Defense, Additional November 2021 Law References:
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.