If you are charged with driving under the influence in Boise, Idaho, you can get the help of a Boise felony DUI attorney to defend yourself against the charge. In DUI cases, a number of defenses are typically possible. This is because all DUI stops and arrests must meet stringent legal requirements. When these requirements are not met, you can argue that the DUI stop was not legal.
Reasonable suspicion is an important concept that is relevant to DUI stops and arrests. Here’s a look at what it is and how it can be used in DUI defenses.
Reasonable Suspicion in DUI Stops
The American Constitution forbids law enforcement agencies to arbitrarily stop individuals and conduct searches. When applied to DUI cases, this means that the police can’t legally stop you over suspicions of drunk driving unless there is reasonable suspicion.
The term ‘reasonable suspicion’ has a broad scope. For instance, if you were driving recklessly, too slow, or switching lanes haphazardly, these can all be considered behaviors that merit reasonable suspicion.
A DUI stop typically occurs in one of the three following ways:
- A police officer spots your reckless or unusual suspicious behavior from the distance. As noted above, this may be related to overspeeding, driving too slow, or maneuvering dangerously. The officer can then stop you for DUI as reasonable suspicion exists.
- You are stopped for a traffic violation such as a broken indicator light or running a red light. Once you are stopped, the police officer who has stopped you observes suspicious mannerisms which hint that you are drunk. If you are then charged with DUI, the officer had reasonable suspicion to do so.
- You are stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Such checkpoints have been legalized by the Supreme Court as a tool to minimize the risks posed by DUI drivers. If you are found to be driving under the influence by a police officer at a DUI checkpoint, the officer has the legal authority to arrest you.
However, not all DUI stops meet the requirements listed above. For instance, it can be argued in a court whether or not your driving qualifies as reckless at the time an officer stopped you over suspicions of DUI. Similarly, you may have red eyes from a sleepless night or slurred speech due to a medical condition, which may be used by an officer to arrest you for DUI. In such cases, your lawyer can question the legality of the traffic stop and seek to have any charges against you dismissed.
Probable Cause in DUI Arrest
The first part of a DUI stop is the stop itself. The second half comprises the arrest. As with the stop, there must be probable cause to exist for your arrest to be legal. In other words, if you are arrested without probable cause, your arrest may be found illegal in a court of law.
A number of behaviors, symptoms, and tests are used by the police officers to meet the probable cause requirements. These include:
- Watery, glazed, or bloodshot eyes
- Inability to respond in a reasonably intelligent way
- Slurred or incomprehensible speech
- Failed field sobriety tests
When is a DUI Arrest Illegal?
If the legal requirements for a DUI stop and arrest are not properly met, a DUI arrest may be deemed illegal by the court. Your lawyer can argue that your DUI stop didn’t meet the reasonable suspicion requirements, or your DUI arrest lacked a fair probable cause.
If the court accepts these arguments, you can then file a motion to suppress evidence. If the motion is successful, the court will decide that all the evidence gathered after an illegal DUI stop or arrest is not admissible in a court of law. This will significantly improve your odds of receiving no penalties or getting away with only minor penalties.
Why Hire a Boise Felony DUI Attorney?
If you are facing DUI charges in Boise, Idaho, a good DUI attorney can help you prepare a solid defense. As noted above, a DUI defense can rest on different aspects of the case, such as the circumstances of the stop and of the arrest.
Here at the Hooper Law Offices, we help DUI defendants defend themselves and seek minimum penalties for the offense. We also work with you to ensure that any legal irregularities in your case are brought to light. Contact us today to discuss your DUI case in a free consultation with our lawyers.