When Are Police Stops Unlawful?

Two police vehicles stop a sedan on a routine traffic stop

People typically assume that officers have a reason when pulling an individual over. While this should always be the case, there are times when a police stop can be unlawful. If an unlawful stop leads to a DUI arrest or charge, what can be done? The team at Ali & Blankner can help explain these concepts and what steps should be taken to remedy the situation.

Unlawful Police Stops Defined

So what exactly is an unlawful stop? Essentially, police officers must have a reasonable articulable suspicion that a crime has been committed or probable cause that an infraction has been committed. Without these, they do not have the jurisdiction to pull someone over and then make an arrest. If an officer does not have probable cause, it is an illegitimate stop.

Understanding Probable Cause

While it is clear that officers must have probable cause, what does that exactly mean? Probable cause involves several different factors. If an officer is specifically pulling an individual over for a DUI, they will be looking for the following behaviors:

  • Random braking
  • Speeding up or slowing down
  • Swerving
  • Driving with no headlights on in the dark
  • Failing to adhere to traffic signals or signs
  • Other traffic violations

If someone exhibits these behaviors, the officer then has probable cause to pull the driver over.

During the Stop

It is crucial to remember that even if a stop is unlawful, it is important to remain courteous. While voluntary consent to a vehicle search is not recommended, agree to any breathalyzer tests requested, as it is unlawful to deny these.

What To Do After an Arrest

If an unlawful stop leads to a DUI arrest or charge, it is essential to take action. Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney is step number one. An experienced team like Ali & Blankner can review the details of a case and determine whether or not the officer had probable cause. Without probable cause, any evidence gathered from the DUI stop can potentially be dismissed. This is paramount, as it can reduce or eliminate charges for individuals.

If you or someone you know was pulled over for a DUI for seemingly no reason, it is important to take action. The team at Ali & Blankner is prepared to review the case and create a plan of action.

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