The legality of the traffic stop preceding your operating while intoxicated (OWI) arrest is crucial to your drunk driving charges. It could make or break the prosecution’s case against you. Therefore, it helps to understand the fine line between a legal and illegal traffic stop if you are facing drunk driving charges.
Generally, law enforcement officers need a legally justifiable reason or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to stop you. It could be exhibiting erratic driving behavior, having a broken tail light, speeding or committing other traffic violations.
The police cannot simply pull you over for no reason just to check whether you are drunk behind the wheel. The Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches, and such a stop is unlawful as it violates your constitutional right. Here’s what an illegal traffic stop could mean for your OWI charges:
The court may suppress the evidence obtained
The court may suppress evidence obtained from an illegal stop, like blood-alcohol tests or field sobriety tests since it was acquired illegally. It means the prosecution cannot use the suppressed evidence against you in court. This can have far-reaching consequences on the outcome or direction your case will take, especially if crucial evidence is affected.
For instance, it could significantly weaken the prosecution’s case, which can lead to the dismissal or reduction of your charges. It can also lead to an acquittal if the case against you lacks the necessary strength to secure a conviction.
Get an informed assessment of your OWI stop
It can be challenging to determine the legality of the stop. It underscores the importance of a qualified review of the details surrounding your arrest and the circumstances of your traffic stop.