What Can Be Considered Reasons To Stop in a DWI Case?

male driver being stopped by female traffic police officer with digital tablet for driving offenceLike most other states, DUI (driving under the influence) arrests are pretty common in Pennsylvania. It is a myth that you must consume alcohol regularly to be stopped by the police for suspicion of DUI, which is not the case. Therefore, it is vital that you understand Pennsylvania DUI laws.

The state law outlines that an individual should not be in control of a vehicle if they have consumed alcohol to the extent that they cannot control the vehicle’s movement safely. Any adult with an alcohol blood concentration level of 0.10% (0.02% for minors) is prohibited from operating a car.

Each DWI (driving while intoxicated) case is unique in its own way. However, they often begin with the driver being pulled over by law enforcement, who then ask for their driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. During this period, law enforcement officers will carefully monitor the driver’s behaviors and mannerisms. If the officers are suspicious of a DUI incident, they will ask the driver to take field sobriety tests.

If the driver does not perform to the officer’s expectations, they will establish probable cause and place the driver under arrest for DUI. Once in custody, the driver will be processed, fingerprinted, and subjected to an official blood alcohol content (BAC) test before their release several hours later or the following day.

Suppose you ever find yourself in a compromising situation with law enforcement in Pennsylvania because of a DUI. Yet, you believe you are still within the legal limit, or the stop was not carried out legally. In that case, it is vital that you contact a competent Pennsylvania DUI lawyer. Look no further than Engle, Kauffman & VanHorn, P.C. – the state’s most sought-after DUI defense lawyers.

Reasons To Stop You in a DWI

Pennsylvania law prescribes only three situations where law enforcement members can make a valid car stop for DWI. If the stop was not carried out for one of these three reasons, an experienced DUI lawyer can argue for the evidence collected during the stop to be suppressed by the court before trial. The three situations for valid DUI stops are DUI checkpoints, reasonable suspicion, and vehicle code violation.

1. DUI Checkpoint

In the “keystone state,” law enforcement is allowed to set up checkpoints on the road to enable them to investigate DWI drivers. In 1990, the country’s highest court upheld that DUI checkpoints do not breach constitutional protections against illegal searches and seizures. In Pennsylvania, DUI checkpoints are guided by the following criterion:

  • The stops must be uniform and not at an officer’s discretion—for example, every fourth car.
  • The stops should be brief
  • The location of the DUI checkpoint must be guided by prior evidence and statistics
  • The checkpoint must be stationary and well-marked

If a DUI checkpoint does not meet this criterion, the evidence collected during its operation can be suppressed.

2. Reasonable Suspicion

Law enforcement officers can make a valid stop if they have “reasonable suspicion” that a motorist is intoxicated. This allows officers to leverage their training and experience to vet whether the facts and circumstances of a driver justify a stop. Stereotypes such as loud music, vehicle model, and the driver’s appearance do not contribute to reasonable doubt.

3. Vehicle Code Violation

Suppose a vehicle is on the road while violating the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code. It can be stopped by law enforcement for a DUI check. Some common vehicle code violations include speeding, driving in the wrong direction, running a red light, and broken taillights.

Were You Stopped for Wrong Reasons to Stop and Got Arrested?

After a DUI arrest, your best shot of getting justice is hiring a competent DUI defense attorney. Such a lawyer can argue that the stop that led to your arrest for intoxication was invalid. As a result, the evidence collected against you will be suppressed. In addition, despite all the evidence against you, a top-notch State College criminal defense lawyer can argue that you were not in actual control of your vehicle at the time of your arrest. For instance, if you were sitting in the driver’s seat with your car keys, preparing to open the trunk.

You can expect us at Engle, Kauffman & VanHorn, P.C., to offer you an unbeatable DUI defense Pennsylvania after your arrest to help you get the best court judgment possible. Contact us today to consult with one of our reputable lawyers about your DWI case for free.