One of the first things that should be explored and challenged in a DWI case is the initial traffic stop. Did the officer have probable cause to pull you over in the first place? Or was the traffic stop itself invalid, before the officer even had any suspicion that you were intoxicated? Here’s what you need to know about invalid traffic stops and how they can affect your DWI case.
In order to stop a vehicle on the road — for any reason — the police officer must have probable cause to do so. Here’s what probable cause is and what it is not, in relation to suspected drinking and driving:
Probable cause may be:
- A traffic violation, such as running a stop sign or red light
- Expired tags
- Weaving outside of the lane the driver is in. This includes crossing the white line on the right or the yellow line in the middle. The exception is passing another vehicle in a safe passing zone.
Probable cause is usually not:
- Minor weaving of a vehicle inside their own lane
- A driver leaving the parking lot of a bar or restaurant where alcohol is served
What to Do If You’re Illegally Stopped and Arrested for a DWI
Once you’re stopped, there’s not much you can do other than follow the officer’s instructions, even if that leads to your arrest. You can politely decline field sobriety testing since it is not a legal requirement for you to perform such testing. However, you must submit to a chemical test if the officer requests it unless you wish to automatically have your license suspended for a period of time.
If you’re arrested for a DWI, even if the traffic stop was invalid, you must go quietly with the officer and go through the steps of being booked and charged. You do not have the right to resist arrest, even if the officer did not have the right to stop you. Your best option is to take note of everything that occurs from the time of your stop to your booking. Then, contact a seasoned Brooklyn DWI lawyer for help.
Call Attorney Mark Cossuto Today
If you’ve been arrested for drinking and driving, don’t wait to get legal help. You may be able to challenge the entire stop itself if the officer had no probable cause to pull you over. Call now for a consultation at (718) 852-8047 or toll free at (800) 609-4545.