When it comes to having reasonable suspicion to pull over a drunk driver, the rules are no different than any other traffic stop. Law enforcement personnel are trained to look out for anything that looks unsafe. You could be going fifteen miles under the speed limit. Maybe you’re weaving in and out of the traffic lanes. This sort of behavior tells the cops that you could be under the influence of alcohol. Your Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer will have a hard time proving that the patrol unit didn’t have grounds to stop your vehicle.
The test for whether the officers had reasonable suspicion to pull you over is not that hard. The cops would have to behave in a reckless manner for your Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer to argue the stop was unlawful. It’s typically what the officers do after the stop that can change the outcome of your case. Your Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer will look to poke holes in the State’s case.
Once They Pull You Over, What Are the Officers Looking For?
Even rookie cops know the telltale signs of alcohol and drug impairment. The officers are going to look for certain signs that you’re drunk or high. This could include any or all of the following:
- You have bloodshot eyes
- You’re slurring your words
- You reek of alcohol
- They see an open container of alcohol in the vehicle
- You are clearly intoxicated and unable to control yourself in a normal manner
Once the cop observes this sort of behavior, they are going to ask you to take a breathalyzer test. They’re also going to ask you to perform a field sobriety test. You have the right to refuse both of these things. Just keep in mind, there are mandatory consequences for this. Your Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer won’t be able to change the law.
What Happens if the Judge Rules the Stop Unlawful?
In any DUI case, there’s the chance that the judge could find the traffic stop unlawful. If that happens, then any evidence that was seized following the stop will have to be thrown out. When this happens, it makes it very difficult for the State to prove its case. Presumably, all the evidence in a DUI case will have been collected after the cops pull you over. There are situations in which the police have other evidence, but they are few and far between.
In order to convince the judge that the traffic stop was unlawful, they’ll have to poke holes in the prosecutor’s case. They could submit a copy of the video showing the stop and arrest. There could be audio of the officer admitting to their partner that they don’t have reasonable suspicion to stop your car. You may have a witness who saw the cops do something out of the ordinary. Perhaps they were waiting behind a liquor store just waiting to pull you over. While that in itself isn’t unlawful, it does make the stop look a bit questionable.
Talk to an Indianapolis DUI Defense Lawyer As Soon as Possible
One of the mistakes a lot of DUI defendants make is they wait too long to retain an Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer. It’s as if they think the charges against them are magically going to disappear. Once these charges are filed, the wheels of the criminal justice system are in motion. You’ll spend a night or two in jail then you’ll be scheduled for your first appearance. You’re going to have to let the judge know how you plead. If you don’t do the right thing at this point, you can change the course of your life forever.
While a charge for DUI in Indiana is hardly as serious as a murder charge, it still carries serious penalties. Yes, you’ll be ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines. Your insurance is going to go way up as a result of a DUI charge and conviction. Your driver’s license will be suspended. Your career could even be in jeopardy depending on what you do for a living. If you plead guilty without speaking to an Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer, it can have disastrous consequences.
What you should do is call and talk to an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Indiana. They’ll help make sure your case is handled properly from the very start. There’s too much at stake to try to handle this on your own.