- The Law Office of James M. Burns
- Challenging your DUI charge can start with the traffic stop
Challenging your DUI charge can start with the traffic stop
There may be very few things more stressful for a Florida driver than seeing red and blue flashing police lights in the rear view mirror. Immediately, you can feel anxious, scared, defensive and even a little angry once you realize you are being pulled over. You might feel especially concerned if you are worried about getting arrested for drunk driving.
In the span of one traffic stop, you could find yourself facing criminal charges, an arrest record and potentially a DUI conviction. However, before you get too far ahead of yourself, you need to remember that you have rights and the option to defend yourself, and it could all come down to the traffic stop that was made in the first place.
Drivers in Florida should understand that police officers can't go around pulling drivers over for no reason. There needs to be probable cause, or reasonable suspicion, for an officer to conduct a traffic stop. This means that a police officer must have reason to suspect a driver has committed an offense. Offenses could include:
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Driving a car without proper tags or license plates
- Swerving in and out of lanes
- Failing to comply with traffic signals
- Driving on a suspended license
If there is no legitimate reason to pull a driver over to begin with, any information or evidence collected in the course of a traffic stop can be thrown out due to the improper stop procedure that violates a driver's rights.
You might not recognize a violation of your rights when it's happening, particularly when it involves something as seemingly routine as a traffic stop. Unfortunately, these situations can and do happen, often because regular citizens are not nearly as familiar with police and legal procedures as law enforcement agents.
For this reason, seeking legal guidance can prove to be a wise decision. If you have been charged with DUI, the consequences of not examining police procedure with an experience defense attorney could prove to be costly mistake if police had no probable cause to pull you over in the first place.