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What does an illegal stop mean for your DUI charges?


Prior to your DUI arrest, the police likely pulled you over for questioning. That first interaction with law enforcement is crucial to your case since critical evidence against you may have been obtained from the stop.

The U.S. Constitution protects you from illegal searches and seizures. If the police broke the law in pulling you over, it could affect the direction your case takes.

The police need reasonable suspicion to stop you

The police cannot pull you over without reason just to check whether you are driving under the influence. Unless it is at a valid DUI checkpoint, the police need reasonable suspicion that you have broken the law.

The legal threshold of reasonable suspicion is not strict, and something as simple as a traffic infraction can be enough reason to pull you over, whether that’s having expired tags or running a red light.

The court may suppress evidence obtained from an illegal stop

Once it is established that the police broke the law when stopping you, any evidence obtained from that stop may be inadmissible in court. Such evidence includes Breathalyzer or field sobriety tests that point to your drunken state.

Should crucial evidence be suppressed by the court, the prosecution may fail to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The result would be a dismissal of the charges against you or a reduction to a lesser offense such as reckless driving.

Defending against DUI charges

When you are facing DUI charges, it is necessary to look into all the aspects of your case when formulating your defense. Whether your traffic stop was legal or not should be among the first things you should probably discuss with your defense.

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