A Putman DUI Lawyer Explains Reasonable Suspicion

In order for an officer to stop a motorist, much depends on exactly what the officer saw. Your Putnam DUI lawyer refers to this as reasonable suspicion.

Determining Reasonable Suspicion of DUI

Your Putnam DUI lawyer will tell you that in order to conduct a DUI stop, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that the driver was acting against the law. Every case is different, and each state has its own laws on what a traffic violation might be.

What the Officer Witnessed

Your Putnam DUI lawyer will first consider what violation if any, the officer specifically witnessed in evaluating whether or not the stop was lawful. Normally, DUI stops result from the officer’s assertion that he directly saw the driver commit a violation.

The Supreme Court’s View

As your Putnam DUI attorney can explain, according to the United States Supreme Court, an officer may not stop a driver for no other reason than to check his or her registration and driver’s license. For example, in the case that resulted in this determination, the officer was quoted as saying, “I saw the car in the area and wasn’t answering any complaints, so I decided to pull them off.” The Court considered this to be insufficient, which led to the following ruling:

“Accordingly, we hold that except in those situations in which there is at least articulable and reasonable suspicion that a motorist is unlicensed or that an automobile is not registered, or that either the vehicle or occupant is otherwise subject to seizure for violation of the law, stopping an automobile and detaining the driver in order to check his driver’s license and the registration of the automobile are unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. [Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 663 (1979).]”

Articulable and Reasonable Suspicion

This is the heart of the matter-whether “articulable and reasonable suspicion” was or was not in existence. This is not the same as probable cause. While the officer can stop you on articulable and reasonable suspicion, he or she must have probable cause in order to place you under arrest.

Your Putnam DUI lawyer can tell you that there is a certain vagueness in the articulable and reasonable standard when it comes to the propriety of a traffic stop. The question of exactly what determines articulable and reasonable suspicion of illegal activity may be different from the point of view of the arresting officer vs. the DUI attorney. The police officer must decide immediately and on the scene, whereas an attorney may be able to spend hours at his desk attempting to make an appropriate determination.

The Facts Must Be Applied Correctly

The facts of the case must be evaluated accurately if the stop is to be ruled proper. Should those facts be applied improperly or in error, your Putnam DUI attorney will invoke the law when presenting the case to the court. Dedication, good faith, and sincere effort do not replace objectively reasonable suspicion of unlawful conduct when pulling a motorist over in a DUI stop.

Contact a Putnam DUI Attorney

If you are involved in a DUI case, be sure to have the support of a skilled, dedicated Putnam DUI lawyer. Call Patrick Canan at (904) 849-2266 today.


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