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Reasonable suspicion and how it can impact your DUI defense

Police officers have to have a reason for pulling a motorist over. It is possible that they can do this through a drunk driving checkpoint, but they might be able to stop your vehicle even if there isn’t a checkpoint. They can watch for signs that you might be impaired. If they see any of them, they have reasonable suspicion to think that you’re breaking the law and can conduct a traffic stop to determine what’s going on.

Some of the signs they will look for when you’re driving include:

  • Almost hitting items on the side of the road
  • Stopping suddenly without reason
  • Failing to obey traffic signs and control devices
  • Straddling the centerline
  • Swerving between lanes
  • Failing to use a turn signal
  • Not having headlights on at night

Once the officer pulls your vehicle over, they will try to find out whether you’re impaired. They can do this through a field sobriety test or chemical test. The key here is that they have to determine if you were able to drive safely or not.

If the officer has evidence that you’re impaired, you’ll likely be arrested. It is imperative that you focus on protecting your rights. This means you can invoke your rights, such as your right to remain silent and to have a lawyer with you if you’re questioned.

Your defense strategy may take the reason for the traffic stop and the actions of the officer into account. Violations of your civil rights might be useful in your defense, so always let your attorney know everything you can remember about the situation.

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