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Why reasonable suspicion is important in DUI cases

If you require defense for a DUI case, one of the most important aspects in the process is the officer’s role. The cop is the one that pulled you over to begin with, but what reason did the cop have for doing so? While Pennsylvania cops do not require a warrant to stop you and search your vehicle, they do require probable cause.

Probable cause means they have sufficient reasoning to search your car or arrest you. However, they need reasonable suspicion to stop you in the first place. If the cop is unsuccessful in providing justification for the stop, it could potentially save you from most of the consequences of a DUI charge.

What is reasonable suspicion?

Police will take note of any odd driving activities to pull you over. These are far more likely to occur at night when the cop is stationed at a DUI checkpoint. Some of these suspicious driving actions include:

  • Illegal turns
  • Speeding
  • Going past the yellow line
  • Irregular movement
  • Inconsistent speeds
  • Head or brake lights are off
  • Turn signals are not used

There are a wide variety of reasons that an officer can stop you, but these tend to be the popular offenses. Some cops may have not even witnessed your driving behavior and got a tip from one of their co-workers.

How can you use it against them?

In court, you can challenge their reasoning for stopping you. They require a legal reason to pull you over. If they pull you over on a whim or have some boilerplate excuse, it diminishes their credibility substantially.

You can use video evidence to prove the cop’s actions lack justification. Each police vehicle is equipped with a dashcam that records whatever is in front of them. This can show that you actually just nicked the yellow line instead of fully going over it, or that your speed and braking wasn’t that inconsistent. Some of this may not be inaccurate to the cop’s reasoning, but the court could see if they are exaggerating the claim.

If the cop did not capture useful video, then you can ask the court to check the footage of another cop who saw you or see if the roadway the cop stopped you on has any cameras in place. Any evidence you have against the circumstances of your arrest could negate any evidence against you. A DUI charge can have severe consequences on your life, so it is important to use all your rights to defend yourself from it.

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