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What does reasonable suspicion mean in a DWI stop?

Dec 13, 2021 | DWI

Contrary to popular belief, police officers aren’t allowed to stop people just because they feel like it. Instead, the officer has to have reasonable suspicion if they want to conduct a traffic stop. There are many things that can lead to this.

Police officers watch vehicles as they’re moving on the roads to determine if there’s anything amiss with any driver. When they see signs that there’s something wrong, they can pull the vehicle over to determine what’s going on.

What is reasonable suspicion?

Reasonable suspicion means that the officer thinks there’s something wrong, including a law being broken. While they can stop you based on reasonable suspicion, they need probable cause to arrest you. Typically, they will meet that standard by asking you questions, having you take a field sobriety test, or conducting a chemical test on you.

There are many signs of impaired driving that the officer might notice. Some of the more common include:

  •       Frequent and unnecessary braking
  •       Straddling the lane lines
  •       Driving slowly or erratically
  •       Failing to abide by traffic signals or signs
  •       Swerving in and out of traffic lanes

Many factors can come into the picture when you’re developing your drunk driving defense strategy. While it might seem like a small point, you should consider the reason for the traffic stop that led to your arrest. If it doesn’t meet the requirements for reasonable suspicion, you might be able to include that in your defense. Working closely with someone who understands the intricacies that go into a suitable defense may reduce your stress.