Understanding reasonable suspicion and DUI stops


Looking in your rearview mirror and noticing the red and blue flashing lights can be a stressful situation. It’s only made worse if you discover the reason for the stop is because the police believe you are intoxicated. However, the police must have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to pull you over. A lack of this means that they cannot legally stop you.

What is considered reasonable suspicion for a DUI stop?

Several things may make the authorities believe you are intoxicated. For example, did you hit a curb or run through a red light? Were you driving extremely slowly, stopping in the middle of the road or hitting stationary objects? These are examples of situations that would give the authorities reasonable suspicion to stop you and determine if you are intoxicated. It is important to note that authorities can conduct field sobriety tests if they pull you over for another reason, such as speeding or malfunctioning equipment if they believe you are intoxicated. However, in this situation, too, they must witness something that gives them cause to conduct this testing. Examples of behaviors in these situations that would be suspicious include poor balance, slurred speech or the smell of alcohol (to name a few).

Your rights when stopped for a suspected DUI

If you are ever pulled over and charged with DUI but believe the police did not have reasonable suspicion to do this, it may be possible to have the charges against you dropped. Knowing your legal rights can help you in these situations.

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