Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a police officer is unable to search and seize an individual or his property without reasonable suspicion. When someone is stopped in traffic and arrested for DUI, it’s considered a seizure and would be illegal without reasonable suspicion.
Some Examples of Reasonable Suspicion
If a police officer sees you driving down the street and there is nothing you’re doing out of the ordinary or against the law, he or she would not be able to pull you over. There are some times when an officer may notice suspicious activity and can then pull the driver over. Some examples of reasonable suspicion include:
- The driver swerving back and forth.
- The driver going significantly slower or faster than the speed limit.
- The driver violating a minor traffic law, such as running a stop sign, driving without lights after dark or making an illegal U-turn.
- The driver’s license plates showing up as stolen.
In each of these situations, a police officer could pull the driver over due to reasonable suspicion. Upon doing so, if the officer smelled alcohol or saw an open can of alcohol in the car, he or she could conduct a DUI investigation.
Evidence of DUI
After the driver has been pulled over and the police officer decides to conduct an investigation, there are some specific things he or she would look for. This includes bloodshot eyes, strange behavior, the odor of drugs, slurred speech and other signs of DUI. The officer might ask the driver to take a roadside breath test or field sobriety test, but in many cases, the driver could decline the test. If a test is taken and the individual has a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher, an arrest could be made.
If There Was No Reasonable Suspicion
If during court, it is determined the police officer had no evidence of reasonable suspicion to pull the driver over, any evidence collected at that time would be inadmissible in court. This means if a roadside breath test showed alcohol in the driver’s system or there was an open beer can collected from the car, they wouldn’t be able to be used as evidence against the driver because of the illegal seizure.
Having a Lawyer Represent You
If you were arrested for DUI, and you feel the search and seizure process wasn’t legal, it’s important you have representation. Contact a DUI lawyer, like from Morales Law Firm, today for help with your case.