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How a Traffic Stop Can Lead to A DUI Charge

Ziliak Law Office Aug. 3, 2021

Generally speaking, an Indiana police officer can make a traffic stop after observing almost any type of traffic violation. For instance, it might be valid to stop a vehicle if there is reason to believe that it is being operated by a driver who has a suspended license. If the officer obtains evidence during the stop that the driver is impaired, that motorist may be taken into custody for DUI.

What Constitutes Evidence of Impairment?

An odor of alcohol in your vehicle may provide probable cause for an officer to ask you to submit to a series of field sobriety tests. You may also be asked to submit to a blood, urine, or Breathalyzer test. The results of these tests might provide further justification to take you into custody for impaired driving.

Your physical appearance may also lead an officer to think that you are under the influence of alcohol. For example, if you have bloodshot eyes, are sweating profusely, or are dressed in a disheveled manner, an officer may assume it’s because you are drunk.

Does an Officer Always Need Probable Cause to Conduct a Traffic Stop?

In some cases, a traffic stop that leads to a DUI charge is legal even if an officer doesn’t necessarily have probable cause to conduct one. For instance, if he or she receives an anonymous report of a drunk driver in the area, the officer typically has an obligation to investigate the matter.

Furthermore, a traffic stop that is based on a reasonable inference is often permissible. An exception to this rule could be made if additional information negated an officer’s assumption that an individual was engaging in a prohibited activity.

If you are charged with impaired driving, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be convicted. It may be possible to have evidence related to your case suppressed before a trial begins. This might be enough to get a drunk driving charge reduced or dismissed.