It’s a common story that we hear often. A guy or gal drives to a bar to meet up with friends. They park outside of the main entrance, or in the establishment’s parking lot and hang inside or on the patio as they drink with their friends. After leaving the place, they climb into their car and head home, only to be pulled over a few short blocks away from the bar.
The officer walks up to the driver’s window and with full knowledge of where the driver just came from says, “Where were you tonight?” After the nervous driver says, “Oh, I just came from Mike’s Tavern,” the officer then says, “Have you been drinking tonight?” Not sure what to say, the driver admits that yes, he was drinking. From there, the officer asks the DUI suspect to step out of his vehicle and perform field sobriety tests, which he quickly fails because even sober people can fail them.
What happens next is anyone’s guess. The driver is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and the police officer tells them that he pulled him over because his car was parked outside of the tavern and the officer saw him leave. If this happened to you, you’re probably wondering, “Can officers wait outside of bars to nab people for drunk driving? Is this practice even legal?” It just doesn’t seem fair to most bar patrons – the owners of bars don’t like it either because they could lose a lot of business.
Taking the Next Step
If you were arrested for drunk driving in Orange County after drinking at a bar and driving away, you should immediately contact an experienced DUI attorney. You have just 10 days from the date of the arrest to request a DMV hearing, which addresses the administrative license suspension. It is possible that you have a viable motion to suppress the evidence based on an unlawful traffic stop, but you’ll need a DUI lawyer to investigate the DUI stop to see if it was illegal.
You see, police officers must have probable cause to pull someone over and initiate a traffic stop. Simply walking out of a bar is NOT enough to support the legality of the stop. If the judge agrees with our argument and you’re leaving the bar was the reason why the officer stopped you, the case may be dismissed.
You should contact our office without delay. Like we mentioned earlier, you may have a good basis for a suppression motion, so you don’t want to miss this opportunity and end up paying the price for the officer’s mistake.
If you were arrested in Orange County, you need a local lawyer. Contact our office for a free case evaluation – our lead attorney is a Board-Certified DUI defense expert.