A driver cannot be pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence without a valid reason. The driver must be committing something illegal, whether it is swerving, weaving, or failing to follow traffic signals. Only after the officer has a valid reason can the driver be stopped.
After the driver is stopped with a valid reason, the officer must then have reasonable suspicion to ask the person to step out of the car and undergo alcohol screening. The alcohol screening may be done through the use of a breathalyzer as well as other tests.
An officer can establish reasonable suspicion in several different ways. The most difficult way is through subjective observation. If the officer states in his report that the driver smelled of alcohol, was slurring and had red, watery eyes then he has reason to believe that the driver is under the influence of alcohol. He may then proceed to conduct alcohol screening tests having established reasonable suspicion.
Another way that officers can establish reasonable suspicion is through the driver’s admission. This is the method that makes the officer’s case the strongest. That is why that anytime an officer can get an admission from the driver, they will pursue it because it builds a strong case against the driver, as there is lesser room for argument.
If the officer does not have reasonable suspicion to move forward with the alcohol screening process, then the DUI charge may be dismissed altogether. Let’s consider the example of David and Daniel.
David is driving a vehicle and runs a red light. He is stopped by an officer who asks him if he has been drinking. David responds that he prefers not to comment. The officer smells alcohol in the vehicle and determines that he has reason to believe that David is under the influence of alcohol. He proceeds to administer alcohol screening tests on David. David argues that he only had a sip of alcohol, and his friend, whom he had just dropped off was drunk. This explains why the vehicle smelled like alcohol. David’s Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney argues for David in his favor, establishing that the officer did not have sufficient reasonable suspicion to stop David in the first place. If David’s attorney is successful, then the case will be dismissed in its entirety.
Now let’s consider Daniel. Daniel is driving at night and runs a red light. He is pulled over by an officer. The officer approaches Daniel’s car and asks if he has been drinking.sDaniel immediately responds that he has been but has only had one beer. This is enough for the officer to get his reasonable suspicion and proceed with the alcohol screening.
In Daniel’s case, it would be a lot harder for a DUI attorney to argue his case because there is a definite admission. The attorney will then have to argue other elements of a DUI, because the facts indicate a stronger argument for the government in regards to reasonable suspicion to administer the alcohol tests.
If you believe that the officer did not have proper reasonable suspicion to administer an alcohol screening test, then you may have a strong chance for dismissal. Consult an attorney who has handled hundreds of cases with the same issues!