Reasonable suspicion and probable cause in a DUI stop
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Reasonable suspicion and probable cause in a DUI stop

| Apr 27, 2021 | Uncategorized

When police officers pull Kentucky drivers over in circumstances other than DUI checkpoints, they must follow strict rules that involve reasonable suspicion. That allows the officer to carry out a brief investigation leading to a field sobriety test if the officer still suspects the driver of being intoxicated. If law enforcement fails to maintain proper protocols, it might count in the alleged DUI driver’s favor if criminal charges are filed.

Reasonable suspicion

This could include but may not be limited to the following:

  • Illegal turn
  • Extremely erratic or slow driving
  • Straddling the centerline
  • Drifting across lanes
  • Frequent, seemingly needless braking
  • Nearly striking objects or other vehicles
  • Stopping in the road without an apparent reason

Along with these, an officer can even pull a driver over for something not linked to impairment, such as a nonfunctioning brake light. If the officer suspects the driver is under the influence of alcohol, a field sobriety test may follow. Reasonable suspicion necessitates no more than a suspicion that the driver might have been involved in committing a crime.

Probable cause

If an officer stops a driver due to reasonable suspicion and then decides to arrest the driver, probable cause must be present. That means the officer found evidence that indicates the driver’s involvement in committing a crime. The reasons must justify an arrest, such as when a driver’s field sobriety test indicates probable impairment.

One way for Kentucky drivers to avoid being pulled over for suspicion of DUI is never to drive after consuming alcohol. However, those who are pulled over will do well to know their rights. If criminal charges follow and an accused driver’s criminal defense plan includes proof that either reasonable suspicion or probable cause was absent, it could lead to dropped or reduced charges.