When you are facing drunk driving charges, you know there is a lot on the line. Your personal freedom, right to drive and your reputation are all at stake. It is in your interests to fight back with a strong criminal defense strategy, and a good place to start is to look carefully at the initial traffic stop.
Law enforcement cannot pull someone over just because they want to. There must be a clear reason to do so, called reasonable suspicion. When there are no clear legal grounds for a traffic stop, it could invalidate all of the evidence from this interaction. This could invalidate the prosecution's entire case against you. If you believe that there are issues with the traffic stop that led to your arrest, you have the right to challenge it.
What counts as reasonable suspicion?
Florida police have a certain amount of authority that allows them to use their judgment when making a traffic stop. There are certain types of behaviors that cause law enforcement to reasonably suspect that a crime might be taking place, such as drunk driving. Some behaviors that could give police reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop include the following:
- Straddling the center line or having trouble maintaining the lane
- Starting and stopping for no apparent reason, or driving at erratic speeds
- Hitting or almost hitting stationary objects on the side of the road
- Making illegal turns or driving haphazardly
While these are common reasons why a police officer may stop a driver, it is not a complete list. If there is suspicion that something is wrong, or the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, police have grounds to make the driver stop.
Having reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop does not necessarily mean the police officer has the probable cause to make an arrest. As the defendant, you have the right to challenge any aspect of the interaction you had with law enforcement and pursue the most beneficial outcome to your case.
Don't fight back alone
If you think there is a problem with the case against you, you do not have to fight back alone. You can more effectively challenge the evidence brought by the prosecution and work to mitigate the penalties that can come with a DUI conviction with the help of an experienced defense attorney. As soon as possible after an arrest, you may want to seek an assessment of your case to better understand the right approach for your defense strategy.