As a citizen of the United States, you have certain rights when it comes to criminal justice proceedings. For example, police must have probable cause to pull you over and conduct a traffic stop.
Police cannot stop your vehicle unless they have a valid reason to believe that you have committed a crime or that you are in the process of committing a crime. In some cases, police might claim there is a problem with your vehicle such as a broken brake light, but if your car is in perfect condition and you were not breaking any traffic laws, there is a good chance that police did not have probable cause to stop you.
If police charged you with DWI or a drug crime after an illegal traffic stop, contact Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law. Mr. DeUrso will investigate your arrest and structure a comprehensive defense based on the unique facts of your case. Call 914-772-8614 to schedule a consultation with a criminal attorney in White Plains.
When Do Police Have Probable Cause to Conduct a DWI Stop?
In order to pull over a motorist and conduct field sobriety tests, police must have a reasonable suspicion that the suspect is under the influence. Probable cause that might indicate a motorist is impaired include:
- Making an illegal turn;
- Straddling the center line;
- Drifting into other lanes or onto the shoulder;
- Braking frequently;
- Driving much slower or faster than the speed limit;
- Stopping in the middle of the street;
- Swerving to avoid hitting other cars; or
- Stopping well before or after a stop line.
This is not an exhaustive list. Ultimately, if you make any kind of strange or illegal traffic maneuver, police may interpret it as a sign of impairment and conduct a traffic stop.
Even if police have probable cause to pull you over, though, they cannot conduct a search of your vehicle unless you give them additional cause to do so. For example, in People v. Chestnut, New York’s highest court ruled that the smell of marijuana in a vehicle constitutes probable cause for a search of the vehicle and its occupants.
If you are perfectly coherent during the traffic stop, though, and you do not give the officer a reason to believe that you are under the influence, police cannot arrest you for DWI; however, they can still issue a ticket if the original infraction you committed constitutes one.
The only time police can pull you over without probable cause is at a sobriety checkpoint. Otherwise, if the police stopped you without probable cause, any evidence gathered during the traffic stop may not be admissible in court. This often leads to the dismissal of criminal charges.
If you are facing DWI charges, contact Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law to discuss your case. Mr. DeUrso is a DWI attorney in New York who will compassionately represent your interests. Call 914-772-8614 to schedule a consultation with a criminal attorney in White Plains.