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How can you know if your DUI traffic stop was valid?

If you are facing drunk driving charges in Massachusetts, you may think it is best to simply plead guilty and move on. In many cases, however, this is not the optimal course of action, and a strong defense strategy is an important step in a fight against any type of OUI charge. 

Law enforcement must have a valid reason to pull a driver over for suspected drunk driving. This means that it is not permissible to simply pull drivers over and have them submit to a field sobriety test or chemical test at whim. There must be a specific reason to do so. This is called reasonable suspicion. Without it, an OUI traffic stop may be invalid.

What does reasonable suspicion mean for your defense?

The legal concept of reasonable suspicion may have a lot to do with your case. If there was no reason for a law enforcement officer to pull you over, it may invalidate the entire case against you. As an individual facing potentially serious criminal charges, it is in your interests to know what counts as reasonable suspicion for pulling over drunk drivers. These actions include:

  • Making illegal turns
  • Driving at erratic speeds, including braking randomly
  • Making frequent stops without reason
  • Driving while straddling the center line
  • Veering into the other lane
  • Hitting or almost hitting other vehicles 

Any of these behaviors could indicate impaired driving. If a law enforcement officer notices a driver doing any of these, he or she has a valid reason pull that driver over. Many other circumstances could qualify as reasonable suspicion, and law enforcement generally has the authority to make decisions in the moment when public safety could be at risk.

An evaluation of the entire case is important. By looking back at the initial traffic stop, you may find that it is appropriate to move forward with challenging that first interaction with law enforcement, and by extension, the prosecution's case against you.

Take your case seriously

It is in your interests to take your case seriously. Whether it is your first OUI offense or you have previous convictions on your record, you do not have to face it alone. Your future and personal freedoms are worth protecting, and you can do this by building a strong defense strategy.

A smart place to start is obtaining a complete evaluation of your case from an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney and gaining an assessment of your legal options.

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Anthony M. Salerno, P.C.
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Worcester, MA 01608

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