When it comes to a drunk driving charge, the first stage of the DWI process is the traffic stop where the officer pulls you over and deems that you are intoxicated. This moves on to the roadside sobriety stage that determines if you are indeed above the legal limit of intoxication. However, even if it turns out that you were too drunk to be driving, your defense could have started before that was even determined.
When a police officer pulls you over, they must have what is referred to as “reasonable suspicion” of your intoxication. This means that if you were swerving over the lines, speeding, or had something as simple as a tail light out, they can pull you over for it. If then they are given the suspicion that you might be intoxicated alongside your normal traffic violation, they can ask you to consent to a sobriety test. You have every right to refuse this roadside test, but they can and likely will arrest you to take a breath, blood, or urine test down at the station. Those sobriety tests you cannot legally refuse.
However, if in fact you were doing nothing wrong while driving, even if you were intoxicated, your whole case can be thrown out because they had literally no reason to pull you over. It doesn’t matter if you were clearly too drunk to drive, if the officer had no reason to pull you over, it can void the arrest and thus a potential DWI conviction.
This is most common among police officers who see a person stumbling out of a bar and end up following them. Most of the time, yes, that person will slip up when driving, but sometimes an officer can be overzealous.
If you are facing a drunk driving charge and need representation, contact us today. The Anderson Law Firm is ready to help you fight.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.