NAPLES DUI LAW – Validity of Traffic Stops

Naples DUI Law:  What happens if the officer does not have a valid reason to stop my car?

If law enforcement stops a vehicle without a lawful reason, a qualified Naples DUI attorney may file what’s known as a “Motion to Suppress.”  In order for law enforcement to lawfully stop a vehicle, the officer must have probable cause that a traffic offense was committed or reasonable suspicion that either a crime is being committed or that the driver is ill, tired or impaired.

For the officer to have probable cause that a traffic offense was committed, an officer must witness the driver commit a traffic offense.  Examples of traffic offenses that are typically valid grounds for a traffic stop may be speeding, running a stop sign, running a red light, stopping past the white stop bar, etc. . . .  Quite often in DUI arrests, an officer will conduct a traffic stop for a traffic infraction and subsequently develop a suspicion that the driver is impaired, usually, upon noticing signs of impairment such as bloodshot eyes, odor of alcohol, and slurred speech.

Another lawful purpose for a traffic stop is if the officer has reasonable suspicion that either a crime is being committed or that the driver is ill, tired or impaired.  For example, the officer may notice by the license plate that the vehicle is not registered or that the registration has expired, which may be charged as a crime.  Another example would be if the officer sees that the vehicle is swerving in and out of its lane of traffic and believes based upon his training that the driver is impaired.  Usually, the driving pattern will be captured on video and after reviewing the video, if appropriate, a defense attorney may consider filing a motion.

Not all traffic stops are legally valid!  In a DUI case, it is important to thoroughly review the basis for the stop to determine if it was lawful.  If the officer did not have a valid reason for the stop, then all subsequent evidence gathered after the stop may be suppressed leaving the State insufficient evidence with which to prove the case.  This would include all observations that the officer made of the driver such as bloodshot eyes or slurred speech, the field sobriety exercises and even the results of the breath test.  To contact a Naples DUI Attorney, please call 239-775-1004.

Juan Escobar

Naples Criminal Defense Attorney

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