Can the police initiate a traffic stop whenever they want? Not exactly.
They cannot pull you over on a “hunch” that you’re drunk
driving because they saw you drive away from a bar’s parking lot,
nor can they pull you over because it’s 1:00 a.m. and they have
nothing better to do.
To pull you over, law enforcement must have
reasonable suspicion that you committed a traffic violation and or criminal offense. When looking
for drunk drivers, officers watch drivers to see if they’re driving
erratically. After all, officers are taught that erratic driving is a
tell-tale sign of drunk driving.
Can the police pull you over on suspicion of
DUI because you suddenly “swerved” or because you drifted out
of your lane?
Unless an officer has reasonable suspicion, they cannot stop you (unless
the stop took place at a valid DUI checkpoint), and unless an officer
has probable cause, they cannot arrest you. Often, officers find other
potential (non-DUI) violations to pull drivers over, such as:
- Running a red light
- Texting while driving
- Failure to use turn signals
- Headlights not on (at night)
- Failure to come to a complete stop, or a “California rolling stop”
- Expired registration tags
Swerving alone isn't a traffic violation, and the police know that
we’re all guilty of swerving on occasion. Whether we’re avoiding
debris in the road, picking up something that fell near the pedals, or
reading directions on our smartphone, swerving happens.
Swerving is also an indicator of drunk or drugged driving. In effect, alert
officers have to consider the possibility that DUI is to blame for the
erratic driving. While swerving can indicate intoxication, it is also
a common result of distracted driving or tired driving, which is why swerving
isn't conclusive evidence when justifying a
Late Night DUI Arrests in Orange County
If the police want to pull someone over, they will likely find a reason
to do so. Once the officer has you pulled over, they can look for signs
of intoxication such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or alcohol on
Law enforcement are "on the hunt" for intoxicated drivers, especially
late at night and on weekends. They will go to great lengths to justify
a traffic stop and DUI arrest, and in many cases, these arrests are unwarranted.
The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. defends clients by calling
police procedure into question. If there was not reasonable suspicion
to pull you over or probable cause to arrest you, your charges could be
reduced or dismissed altogether.
If you were arrested for DUI in Orange County,
contact us for a free consultation!