Driving under the influence of alcohol drugs is a big problem in Louisiana and around the country. Police officers must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed when stopping drivers for this offense, though. The exception to this is checkpoints, which remain controversial. But in general, officers need a reason to pull someone over for suspicion of driving under the influence.
Examples of reasonable suspicion
There are a number of factors that can count as reasonable suspicion for DWI/DUI on the road. For example, if a police officer sees someone driving unusually slowly, that can be reasonable suspicion. So can drifting from one lane to another, or driving over the center line on the street. Hitting, or coming close to hitting, other things or people on the road is also a reason for pulling people over.
An officer can come to have a reasonable suspicion of DUI/DWI after pulling someone over for another reason. For example, if a driver has a burned out taillight or expired tags but their speech is slurred, that can be reasonable suspicion for driving under the influence. A reasonable suspicion is a lower standard to meet than probable cause.
Remember, during a traffic stop, it’s always a good idea to be polite with the officer. In some jurisdictions, refusing to submit to a breath test is tantamount to admitting guilt. No driver should feel compelled to speak to the police without an attorney if they don’t want to, apart from providing basic information like identification.
If you or a loved one has been accused of DWI/DUI, it’s important to get an experienced defense attorney. They may be able to help you understand if the officer who pulled you over had a valid reasonable suspicion during the stop. If not, it could make it easier to have your case dismissed.