Was Your DUI Stop Justified?
We all trust law enforcement agents to protect us against intoxicated drivers, but in order to do so, police officers first have to stop motorists they suspect are driving under the influence. Read on to explore what type of behavior justifies a DUI stop and be sure to consult an Orange County DUI lawyer if you feel that you have been unjustly detained.
Crossing Lane Lines
- Courts have varying protocols for determining probable cause for DUI stops.
- Some courts uphold that weaving across traffic lanes multiple times permits a DUI check.
- Specifically, one Kansas court ruled that three factors—swerving inside the lane, erratic speed, and weaving across the center line at least three times—created enough probable cause for law enforcement officers to stop drivers.
- However, one court rejected the judgment that officers can halt drivers who cross lane dividers; according to the Florida ruling, as long as the motorist does not veer considerably into the emergency lane and there are no other vehicles in the surrounding area, it does not matter whether the motorist drives over the right-side divider at least three times.
- In a Maine legal hearing, the court ruled that a defendant crossing the center line on a nearly empty highway did not exhibit behavior that justified a DUI stop.
- Just like driving too fast can attract police attention, driving too slowly can sometimes incite a DUI stop (although your Orange County DUI lawyer may later argue that the stop was unjustified, depending on the situation).
- For example, a court case in Georgia concluded that a motorist was traveling so slowly that he constituted a freeway safety hazard and could therefore be investigated for driving under the influence.
- However, driving under the speed limit does not always provide reasonable evidence to detain a driver suspected of DUI; another Georgia court considered one DUI stop unjustified, even when the driver was traveling approximately 30 miles per hour under the speed limit.
- Driving too slowly cannot provide reasonable cause for a DUI check on highways without designated minimum speed limits.
- Montana policemen performed a valid DUI check on a driver who reacted slowly to a traffic light change, even after officers utilized their car horn to prompt the driver to move.
- On the other hand, a New Jersey judge considered one stop inappropriate when law enforcement agents detained a driver for merely pausing a few seconds before accelerating through an intersection.
Determining probable cause for DUI stops can be tricky for law enforcement agents, and sometimes police officers inadvertently squash individual rights in the quest to detain inebriated drivers. If you are questioning whether your DUI stop was justified, call the law offices of Coffey and Coffey today at (800) 706-7888. Their Orange County DUI lawyers are committed to helping you with your DUI concerns so you don’t have to navigate the criminal justice system alone.