A.J. Hodges, IV - Attorney at Law
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What are valid grounds for a DWI traffic stop?

Are you facing drunk driving charges? Louisiana law does not look kindly on DWI offenders, and whether it's your first offense or you have a criminal record, you would be wise to start working on your defense strategy as soon as possible. One of the first steps of this process is to examine the grounds of the original DWI traffic stop.

Police can make traffic stops for suspected drunk driving only in certain circumstances. There must be a valid reason to pull over a driver, called reasonable suspicion. Without it, a traffic stop may be invalid, and it can compromise the entire case against the accused. It is in your interests to carefully review the circumstances of your arrest as part of your defense strategy.

What counts as reasonable suspicion?

Certain types of behavior are often associated with intoxicated driving. When law enforcement notices these actions or details, they can stop a driver and ask him or her to submit to a sobriety test. Every DWI traffic stop has to start with the reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is taking place.

Police have the right to stop a driver for any type of behavior that he or she deems as suspicious. While this is not a complete list, some of the things that may count as valid grounds to initiate a suspected DWI traffic stop include:

  • Swerving
  • Speeding up and slowing down
  • Hitting another vehicle or coming close to hitting another vehicle
  • Making an illegal turn or running through an intersection
  • Drifting between lanes or straddling the center line

You may want to remember that there is a distinct difference between reasonable suspicion and probable cause. If an officer arrested you for suspected DWI, it is worthwhile to carefully examine the circumstances of your traffic stop and your entire interaction with law enforcement.

The foundation of a strong defense

You would be wise to take quick action to start working on your defense. When it is your future and personal freedoms on the line, it is smart to work promptly and diligently to defend yourself against any charges.

You are innocent unless proven guilty, and you do not have to face these charges alone. You may want to speak with a defense attorney experienced in drunk driving cases about how you can protect your constitutional rights and pursue a beneficial outcome to your case.

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