In Orange County, it’s not uncommon to see the police patrolling
the streets, especially near bars and on busy streets on Friday and Saturday
nights. Let’s say one Friday evening, you met up with friends to
have a drink at a local watering hole.
After having a drink and spending a few hours hanging out with your friends,
you climbed in your car and drove home. A block away from the bar, you’re
pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Our question is, could you spot
illegal police stop if it was happening to you?
Did the Police Have Probable Cause?
So, you left a bar – that doesn’t give the police the automatic
right to pull you over for
driving under the influence (DUI). Perhaps you only had one drink and it was hours before the police
stop. Perhaps you were drinking non-alcoholic beer or soda all night,
or perhaps you were the designated driver.
In order for the police to pull you over on suspicion of DUI, first they
must have “probable cause” to believe you were under the influence.
Your presence at a bar is not enough to confirm this. If you were a victim
of an unlawful police stop and you were later arrested for DUI, you may
have a good reason to challenge your DUI charges in court.
unlawful police stop exactly? It’s where the police pull you over for DUI, but they
don’t have probable cause. Probable cause is some sort of an indication that would
lead a reasonable person to believe that a crime was committed. Here are
some indications of possible drunk driving that could
give the police probable cause to initiate a lawful stop:
- Erratic driving,
- Weaving in and out of lanes,
- Driving without headlights at night,
- Running through a red light or a stop sign,
- Sudden stopping and accelerating, and
- A concerned citizen puts in a 911 call, alerting the authorities about
a possible drunk driver on the road.
In light of the above information listed, the police need to have sufficient
probable cause to lawfully commence a DUI stop. They cannot simply pull
people over at random or hang out near bars and wait for patrons to leave
the bar and drive home.
Just as it’s not legal for police officers to arrest people at random,
they can’t cherry pick drivers just because they’re driving
down Pacific Coast Highway late at night, assuming the driver just left
an alcohol-infused party, or spent the night drinking at a bar.
Unfortunately, police officers are in the habit of waiting around to pull
people over on suspicion of DUI, especially on weekends, holidays, and
near bars and nightclubs. If you believe you were a victim of an unlawful
contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a
free consultation with the
DUI Queen. Take advantage of our expertise in DUI defense to fight your DUI charges!