The legal concept known as reasonable suspicion plays a key role in nearly all DUI arrests. Below, we take a closer look at why reasonable suspicion is so important in these DUI cases, how it be substantiated by law enforcement, and what it means for a defendant when proper reasonable suspicion isn't cited.
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Defining Reasonable Suspicion
In many ways, reasonable suspicion is much like probable cause in that it must exist before the police can legally take action against a citizen. Reasonable suspicion is defined as “specific and articulable facts and the specific reasonable inferences which follow from such facts in light of the officer's experience.” In other words, reasonable suspicion occurs when an officer’s training and experience indicate to him or her that criminal activity could be taking place.
In terms of drunk driving arrests, reasonable suspicion can manifest a number of different ways. In some cases, law enforcement determine reasonable suspicion while witnessing a suspect operate their motor vehicle and other times it is established when officers have already pulled a driver over.
For example, reasonable suspicion to stop you or ask you out of your vehicle can include:
- Erratic driving
- Lane drift
- Traffic violations
- Slurred speech
- The scent of alcohol
- Red eyes
- An automobile crash
- Visible open containers
- Roadside sobriety tests
The Lack of Reasonable Cause
Like probable cause, reasonable suspicion was established to help protect each citizen's Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Essentially, it prevents law enforcement from stopping and detaining drivers without a reasonable excuse for doing so. Probable cause, which is an essential standard to many criminal arrests, must often first be supported by reasonable suspicion.
However, this doesn't always happen and, every year, countless criminal cases from all over the country are voided because law enforcement failed to follow proper protocol. If you have been charged with drunk driving, it's critical that you first have your case assessed by a proven legal professional ready to expose any probable cause or reasonable suspicion issues and ensure that your rights are protected.
At The Law Offices of Jesse Adams, Attorney Adams is ready to help you or a loved one navigate their DUI/OVI charge and ensure that the best possible outcome is diligently pursued on your behalf. Call today to get a proven Northampton DUI attorney on your side.
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