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What can be considered reasonable cause to be pulled over for Dui if no moving violation was committed

Boston, MA |

friend was pulled over and tested for DUI based on a tip from a call received by police stating they smelt alcohol on the friends breath. is this reasonable cause?

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Attorney answers 4


The short answer to your question is that it depends on who gave the tip, and what the tip contained. There is a long answer that is not possible to go over on Avvo. However, at the very least your friend should meet with a local attorney to review the police report and discuss the case. These initial meetings are usually free of charge. Keep in mind that an OUI charge in Massachusetts may carry significant penalties and consequences. Your friend should contact an attorney ASAP for an initial consultation.

Best of Luck

Law Office of Ilir Kavaja
30 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

(617) 515-5545

The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.


You may not like this answer but a “tip” to a police officer (which led to your friend’s OUI arrest) may or may not be sufficient to conduct a threshold inquiry; it all depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the “tip”. The first thing your friend should do is hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer who will know how to challenge this OUI arrest. The issue you raise is quite complicated and I cannot properly answer your question without more information. Nevertheless, this case sounds like a case where a motion to suppress should be filed to challenge the probable cause basis of the initial motor vehicle stop.

Generally speaking, a police officer may stop a vehicle in order to conduct a threshold inquiry if he has a reasonable suspicion that the occupants have committed, are committing, or are about to commit a crime. His suspicion must be based on specific, articulable facts and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, and he cannot base his stop merely on a so called hunch.

As it appears that the police in your case conducted an investigatory stop based on an informant's tip, when challenged in court, the court’s evaluation of the tip's indicia of reliability will be focused on the informant's reliability and his or her basis of knowledge. Independent police corroboration may make up for deficiencies in one or both of these factors. In other words, if the stop is challenged in court as I indicated above, the prosecutor must establish that the tip was credible as well as reliable. I hope this brief answer convinces you that a Criminal Defense Attorney is absolutely necessary in this case.

Attorney Steven J. Topazio
10 Winthrop Square, Suite 4100
Boston, MA 02110

Any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need additional information, call Attorney Topazio directly at 617-422-4803 regarding your specific concern.


I agree with my colleagues that it is dependent upon the content of the tip. Your friend needs an attorney, obviously, and the attorney is entitled to the recording of the person calling in the tip. The police report will be very telling about what the stop was based upon, although often a "back story" can be created after the fact by the arresting officer. Your friend should look for an attorney who focuses on the details and doesn't rush to try the case. Motions to dismiss and suppress are often skipped, and in this case, should definitely be considered.

Good luck.

Providing users with information is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. However, if in reading my response, you are interested in retaining me to represent you, please do not hesitate to contact me.


I agree with everything said previously, in that your friend should consult an attorney asap due to the vast consequences and sometimes technical defenses associated with an OUI case. You will want your attorney to obtain 911 logs and the recording if available to have the exact information provided with respect to the tip. These calls are usually tape recorded. It may also be important to find out what other information can be obtained from the called if he/she can be identified.

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