Challenging a DUI/DWI starts with examining the evidence behind the traffic stop. An attorney should question whether or not the police officer had any cause to pull you over, or if the stop was invalid. Here’s why that’s important and how an invalid traffic stop may impact your DUI/DWI case.
What Probable Cause Is and Isn’t
Identifying whether or not a police officer had probable cause to pull you over in the first place is crucial. If the officer had no probable case, it’s possible that the case may be dismissed entirely on that fact alone. At the very least, some evidence from the stop — such as field sobriety testing and breath testing — may be suppressed.
Some officers will pull over a vehicle based on the idea that they must be drinking and driving, especially if the driver is exiting the parking lot of a restaurant that serves alcohol, a liquor store, or a bar. Or, the officer may spot the vehicle weaving some inside his or her own lane. Although these are popular reasons officers pull over DUI/DWI suspects, they are not in and of themselves sufficient probable cause to do so.
True probable cause includes but is not limited to:
- Expired registration/tags
- Broken taillight or headlight
- A driver who weaves outside his or her own lane, crossing the white or yellow lines
- A driver who breaks a traffic law, such as speeding or failure to yield
You’ve Been Illegally Stopped and Arrested — Now What?
If you are arrested for a DUI/DWI, even if you were stopped illegally, you must follow the instructions of the police officer. You do not have any right to resist arrest under any circumstances, even if you believe the traffic stop was invalid.
You do have the option to decline a field sobriety test, but driving equals implied consent to chemical testing. This means that you must submit to a blood or breath test if the officer requests it — if you do not wish to suffer automatic consequences like losing your license. If you’re arrested after an invalid stop, the best course of action is to remain silent and take mental notes of everything that occurs from the point of your stop to your booking and provide that information to an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer.
Call Schwartz & Krysinski LLP Today
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI/DWI, you may be able to challenge the entire stop on the basis of lack of probable cause. Call our office today for more information at (718) 208-6094.