What Does Suspicion of DUI Mean in Arizona?
Before the dreaded moment when you see police lights in your rearview mirror, your driving behavior or vehicle gives them a reason to pull you over. If you’ve had even just a beer before driving, you should be extra careful about how you’re driving to avoid attracting such attention.
We’ll outline some of the ways drivers attract law enforcement’s attention, leading to DUI charges after drinking.
Driving actions that enable law enforcement to detain a driver
Your goal when behind the wheel of a vehicle is to avoid attracting attention from law enforcement. Even if you haven’t been drinking, it’s smart to drive in such a way that does not invite any sort of law enforcement attention to avoid opportunities for an officer to charge you with a driving infraction.
Here are some of the most common attention-grabbing actions that drivers make that lead to traffic infractions and DUIs.
- Loud vehicle exhaust
- Omitting to have a license plate or blocking or covering it
- Improperly blocking an intersection
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Driving too far under the posted speed limit
- Not turning on your headlights when the conditions warrant it
- Leaving your windows down when it’s cold outside
- Failing to yield appropriately at a four-way stop
- Cutting off another driver
- Illegal damage to your vehicle that you haven’t fixed, such as a broken taillight
- Blocking an intersection
- Driving with an expired registration or no registration
- Making a U-turn where it isn’t permitted
- Illegal window tinting
- Failing to signal when turning or changing lanes
- Failing to stop completely at a stoplight or stop sign
- Disobeying a posted school zone
- Engaging in street racing
- Driving too close to the car in front of you (tailgating)
- Using an electronic device while driving
- Littering by throwing trash or other objects out your window
- Driving on or over the lines on the road
- Staggering out of a bar or otherwise showing impairment and then operating a vehicle
On their own, these infractions do not give a law enforcement officer the means to charge you with a DUI. However, they do provide suspicion for an officer to pull you over. If in the course of that traffic stop the officer questions your impairment, you could have to undergo testing.
What you need to know about probable cause and reasonable suspicion
Under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, you have a right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment provides the following rights.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
This means that an officer must have a reason to pull you over and that they cannot test your blood alcohol levels without reasonable suspicion that you’ve been drinking. Ways you can give them that reasonable suspicion include slurred speech, confusion, erratic driving or even just the scent of alcohol on your breath.
The legality of the initial traffic stop is one of the key defense strategies that Arizona DUI attorneys use to protect the rights of individuals facing charges. Without a legal reason to pull you over, the entire DUI case could be dropped because the law enforcement officer did not properly protect your fourth amendment rights.
We’ll evaluate the probable cause and reasonable suspicion in the circumstances surrounding your DUI case. And if we can’t find areas where the law enforcement officer broke the law, we’ll also call into question the testing procedures. Contact us now for a relentless DUI defense.