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When can police make a DWI traffic stop?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2021 | DWI

If you have ever seen the flashing lights of a law enforcement vehicle in your rearview mirror, you know how one traffic stop can lead to serious consequences. In Minnesota, a DWI can lead to penalties that can include everything from time behind bars to expensive fines. It is prudent for every driver facing these types of criminal charges to know what he or she is up against and how to fight back.

As part of developing a strategy for your defense, it may be beneficial to take a closer look at the initial traffic stop. In order to pull a driver over, police must have reasonable suspicion. If there was no reasonable suspicion, the traffic stop and evidence collected from it may be invalid. As part of your defense, you may be able to challenge the actions of law enforcement and undermine the prosecution’s case against you.

What counts as reasonable suspicion?

There are specific behaviors that may give law enforcement reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place, such as drunk driving. Some of the things police use as grounds to initiate a traffic stop include the following:

  • Nearly hitting stationary objects on the side of the road
  • Straddling the center line of the road
  • Swerving or driving at erratic speeds
  • Frequently braking or stopping for no apparent reason
  • Driving recklessly or displaying any concerning behavior

After pulling a driver over, a police officer will look for signs of possible intoxication. This includes slurred speech, open containers of alcohol and more. If there are indications of drunk driving, the law enforcement officer may ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and perform sobriety tests.

The right defense plan

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to fighting a DWI. The most effective way for you to fight back and seek the preservation of your interests is to prepare a defense strategy custom-tailored to your needs and objectives. A careful evaluation of your case may reveal problems with the initial traffic stop, which could invalidate some or all of the evidence against you.

Regardless of whether it is your first DWI or you have previous drunk driving offenses on your criminal record, it is always worthwhile to fight for your future interests. With the right defense plan, you may be able to avoid a conviction or seek a mitigation of some of the potential penalties you are facing.