LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Nors Elwood Davidson | Oct 6, 2011

What Is An Unlawful Police Stop?

In order for a police officer to pull you over on suspicion of DUI, they must first have probable cause to do so. If an unlawful police stop lead to your DUI arrest, you may have the ability to fight your charges in court.

An unlawful police stop refers to when a police officer pulls a driver over without probable cause to do so. What is probable cause? Probable cause refers to indications that would lead a reasonably intelligent person to believe that an accused person has committed a crime. Therefore, before a person can be pulled over on suspicion for DUI, the police officer must have probable reason to pull them over in the first place.

This standard is used in criminal law and in DUI arrests. Unfortunately, sometimes a police officer will pull a driver over on a hunch that he or she was drunk driving without having any reason to do so. Police officers cannot legally pull people over at random or cherry- pick them just because they were driving late at night.

It is not uncommon for a police officer to park outside of a bar or nightclub and wait until closing time. Waiting for drunk drivers to come along is especially common on holidays, weekends, late at night, or nearby popular bars or nightclubs. In order for the police officer to pull you over on suspicion of DUI, they must have first observed behavior that was indicative of drunk driving behavior. Such behavior would include: breaking erratically, speeding, swerving, driving without headlights on in the dark, ignoring a stop sign or traffic light, driving too slow or any other traffic violation.

These types of behaviors would provide the police officer with “reasonable cause" to pull you over. But what if you weren’t demonstrating any of the above behaviors? If the police officer “cherry- picked" you or pulled you over at random, then they violated your constitutional rights. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to demonstrate that you were pulled over without probable cause, if they are successful, your case may be dismissed or your charges dropped. Your lawyer will have to prove that the traffic stop was unreasonable, and in violation of prevailing statutes and case law.

If you were arrested for drunk driving and you feel that the stop was unconstitutional, and if it can be proved that the police officer stopped you without probable cause, this can be used as a DUI defense to fight your charges. If your attorney can prove that the stop was unjustifiable and that there wasn’t a sufficient reason to pull you over, then any evidence against you cannot be allowed in court. Your rights are extremely important and deserve to be protected, especially if you were a victim of an unlawful police stop. So please, contact a DUI defense attorney before it is too late and your driving privileges are suspended.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Law Offices of Nors Davidson is proud to represent the residents of San Francisco, California. As a seasoned DUI and DMV defense firm, they have helped countless every day citizens successfully fight their DUI charges. The majority of clients that walk in their door are normal people without a prior criminal history. Many of these individuals are bright college students with their whole life ahead of them, or they are upstanding citizens with families relying upon them. They want nothing more than to challenge the charges against you and search for any mitigating circumstances that might get the charges dropped. They are well versed in DUI laws and are fully aware of what you are up against. Give them the opportunity to try and get your penalties reduced so you have the best chances of retaining your driving privileges and your freedom. Contact a San Francisco DUI lawyer from the firm by calling (415) 956-1294.

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