For a police officer to initiate a DUI traffic stop, they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or is in progress. This suspicion is typically based on observed erratic driving, traffic violations or other indicators of impairment.
However, if an officer lacks a valid reason to pull you over and proceeds with a stop regardless, it can be deemed an illegal stop, leading to potential consequences for your DUI charges.
Illegally obtained evidence may be inadmissible in court
The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches by law enforcement, and an illegal stop by the police violates your constitutional rights. Under the exclusionary rule, any evidence obtained from the unlawful traffic stop is inadmissible in court. The court may suppress the evidence obtained unlawfully, meaning it will not be presented before a judge or jury if the case goes to trial. This can have far-reaching implications on your DUI charges.
For instance, the prosecution may have insufficient evidence if your breathalyzer or chemical test results are excluded from the trial. It can be challenging to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt when this happens, and your DUI charges may be reduced or dismissed.
The legality of your traffic stop is crucial to your defense
Assessing the legality of your DUI stop and suppressing the evidence obtained unlawfully requires a certain degree of legal expertise and knowledge of the justice system. Therefore, if you are facing DUI charges, it is best to have qualified counsel examine the circumstances surrounding the stop, assess the evidence obtained and identify any constitutional violations or procedural errors. This can be crucial in constructing a strong defense that will increase the chances of securing a favorable verdict.