Every DUI stop stems from a traffic stop. Whether an officer stops you for an unrelated offense, such as speeding or a burned-out headlight, or stops you for suspicion of drunk driving, that traffic stop can lead to a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge. Reasonable suspicion can be aroused by a variety of driving irregularities. Although the Fourth Amendment does indeed protect citizens from unlawful search and seizure, it is rarely in your best interest not to cooperate if you’ve been stopped.
Officers in many states, including New York, occasionally set DUI checkpoints or sobriety checkpoints to scout out impaired drivers – usually on busy thoroughfares during those holidays and events that invite over-indulgences (think 4th of July and the Super Bowl). While such checkpoints remain controversial – and are even prohibited in several states – federal law supports their legality.
There are many factors that might provide an officer with the reasonable suspicion that a driver is impaired:
- Straddling the centerline;
- Making an illegal turn;
- Drifting in and out of lanes;
- Coming too close to other cars or roadside objects;
- Driving erratically or too slowly;
- Braking frequently; and
- Stopping for no reason.
This list is in no way exhaustive. There are innumerable reasons that can lead to a reasonable suspicion stop. It’s important to remember, however, that while reasonable suspicion is enough for an officer to stop you and investigate further, the officer must have probable cause – the higher standard of having enough evidence to make the officer believe that you probably committed a crime – before taking you in.
Once You’ve Been Stopped
If you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test, it can present a difficult decision. The law of implied consent states that you, upon obtaining your driver’s license and as a precondition of that license, consent in advance to submitting to either a blood, urine, or Breathalyzer test if requested to do so by an officer. However, your refusal to do so can lead to far fewer penalties than those incurred by a DUI. This remains a complicated issue.
Your Next Step
Because the process can move very quickly once you’ve been arrested, it is highly advisable that you request the counsel of an experienced New York DUI attorney early in the arrest process.
Contact an experienced New York DUI Lawyer Today
If you have been arrested for DUI, your best line of defense is to invoke your right to counsel. It’s your right, and by employing it, you improve your chances of obtaining justice. Contact an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney at Hirsch & Hirsch. We have the skill, the expertise, and the dedication to fight for you and for your case’s best possible outcome, so give us a call at 516-486-8500 or contact us online today.