What Happens When a Police Officer Stops You for a DUI
When a police officer pulls you over, your first thought is likely “what did I do?” followed quickly with feelings of anxiety and stress. Usually, we assume that we must have been driving over the posted speed limit or that we may have a taillight out. Clearly, when a police officer pulls someone over, they do so because they have a specific reason. It would not make sense for a police officer to randomly begin pulling people over and attempting to find things the driver did wrong. So, when it comes to suspected driving under the influence, a police officer needs to have a good reason for pulling you over. Attorneys have seen people being pulled over for a DUI without reasonable suspicion, and this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Thus, if you believe your Fourth Amendment has been violated regarding a DUI charge or arrest, please contact us now.
When can a police officer pull me over for a DUI?
When we think of police officers searching your property, most people know that to come into your home and search it you either need to let them in or they need a judge to give them a warrant. However, the laws are completely different when it comes to cars. To pull you over, they simply need a reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
- Checkpoints. To deter people from driving drunk or under the influence of drugs, many states have encouraged police officers to use checkpoints during times of the day and week that people are most likely to be driving under the influence. Thus, even if you were not driving in a way that was suspicious—and even if you did not have a sip of alcohol—once you hit a checkpoint a police officer has the right to examine you. While it may seem inconvenient for drivers on the road, it is a legal way to deter drunk driving.
- Suspicion of Intoxication. If you are driving in a way that makes a police officer suspect you of drunk driving, they have a right to pull you over. This could be from you not using your turn signal, swerving in and out of lanes, or driving too quickly or slowly.
- Pulling You Over for a Routine Traffic Stop. If a police officer pulls you over for another reason (you were speeding, you rolled through a stop sign) and sees an open bottle of alcohol in the front seat or can smell alcohol on your breath, they have a reason to begin examining you to see if you are driving under the influence.
If a police officer did not legally have a reason to pull you over and examine you for driving under the influence, though, this is a violation of your rights, and you should speak with a DUI attorney in Virginia to see how they can help you if you were charged with a DUI. Please give a law office a call as soon as you can.
Thanks to the Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and police stops for a DUI.