DUI: Some of the Common Reasons for Traffic Stops
Given the limitless number of reasons that a police officer might use as a basis for stopping a vehicle, there are some reasons that are more “standard” for stops by law enforcement that result in DUI charges.
For example, if the officer has an objectively reasonable basis for stopping you (like in the case of a traffic violation), it won’t matter that the officer’s real reason for pulling you over was so that he or she could search for drugs in your vehicle. These types of stops are known as “pretext” stops, and their use has been approved by the United States Supreme Court.
US courts have also determined that weaving within the lane gives a police officer reasonable cause to stop a vehicle merely on the officer’s feeling that the driver is driving while under the influence in cases where such weaving goes on for a considerable distance. In one case, the “considerable” distance was ¾ of a mile. Additionally, many courts have also determined that “continued weaving” within the lane was enough justification for a stop.
Other courts, however, have determined that weaving within the lane did not permit law enforcement to hold one’s vehicle, and “touching” the lane is not the same as weaving out of the lane; thus, it is not a violation of the law.
In one case, the police officer stayed behind the driver for about a mile and a half, and he calculated that he saw the driver’s vehicle weave within the lane anywhere from two to seven times. The court in that case deemed the detention unlawful, especially in light of the fact that the officer was not positive with respect to the exact number of times that the driver had weaved within the lane. If you need an Orange County DUI attorney, please contact Mike Coffey for a free consultation.