If a police officer in Florida stops you because they think you are driving under the influence, the officer must have a valid reason for stopping you. It’s important for you to know what can give a cop reasonable suspicion.
What is reasonable suspicion?
Reasonable suspicion is a legal theory that allows police officers to search a person or property if there’s evidence that a crime has been committed. In the case of driving under the influence or DUI, if an officer believes that a driver is intoxicated, it gives them cause to stop the driver, search their vehicle and arrest them. However, reasonable suspicion doesn’t apply if the officer asks a person to stop to simply answer questions. There must be an indication that a crime has already been committed.
What are examples of reasonable suspicion for DUI?
Certain scenarios are enough to give a police officer reasonable suspicion for DUI. These are legitimate reasons for an arrest and may require a good DUI defense once the case goes to court. They include the following:
- Dangerous driving: There is reasonable suspicion if a driver operates a vehicle dangerously. Erratic maneuvering such as swerving in and out of lanes or traveling the wrong way are examples.
- Speeding: A police officer can pull over a driver if they’re speeding or racing in spite of the posted legal speed limit.
- Frequent braking: If a driver brakes frequently, it gives police reasonable suspicion to stop them. It can be a sign of a driver being intoxicated.
- Driving very slowly: Even driving too slowly is a sign of possible intoxication. It’s reasonable for a police officer to be suspicious.
- Missing a near-accident: Drivers who just miss getting into an accident might be suspected of driving under the influence.
- Traffic violations: If a driver violates traffic laws, it gives just cause for an officer to stop them under suspicion of DUI.
- Vehicle issues: Issues with a vehicle like a broken light may constitute reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop as well.
All of these examples allow police officers to legally stop a driver. If there’s sufficient evidence that the individual committed a DUI, the officer can arrest them.