If you've been arrested after a stop and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), the legality of the stop may be in question. Law enforcement has the burden of making sure that everything that went on from the time you were stopped and going forward through the arrest is aboveboard and legal. Take a look at a few legal issues below and learn more.
Implied Consent Allowances
Consent is a legal term meaning permission was given. In some cases, consent is implied. That means by performing a certain act, consent is assumed. When you are operating a vehicle, you are actually agreeing to a form of implied consent. Driving down the road is not a right; it's a privilege, and that privilege can be in jeopardy if laws are disobeyed. This provision allows law enforcement to stop you if they have probable cause.
Probable Cause to Make a Stop
When you are pulled over by law enforcement, there must a good reason. The reason you get stopped is important, and it doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with what the charges may eventually be. For example, you can be stopped for failing to maintain a single lane of travel but then charged with DUI. You may or may not get a ticket for the traffic offense on top of the DUI. Other common situations that might create probable cause to make a traffic stop include:
- Equipment issues like having a headlight or taillight out
- Breaking other laws like speeding, failing to stop at a stop sign, etc.
In some cases, signs of impaired driving signal a need to make a stop. This can include common behaviors like:
- Staying too long at a green light or stop sign
- Stopping in the middle of the road for no apparent reason
- Driving too slowly (way below the speed limit)
Probable Cause to Field Test
Once a vehicle is stopped, law enforcement looks for more signs of impairment that would prompt field sobriety tests. Often, the officer observes slurred speech, alcohol containers, and the odor of alcohol on the breath or in the vehicle. Any of these are considered good reasons to ask the suspect to participate in roadside sobriety testing. If they have – and can prove – probable cause for both making the stop and for testing, you may face some serious consequences if you don't go along with the breathalyzer and physical tests like the one-legged stand and others.
Your defense attorney understands the laws and knows how to get your charges dropped or reduced if reasonable cause was not present. Speak to a criminal defense attorney today.