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DUI Defense: No Reasonable Suspicion to Stop

If you’ve been pulled over by a police officer and eventually charged with a DUI, you may wonder, “Why me? What made me stand out?” If the officer is abiding by the law, then the officer must have had a “reasonable suspicion” in order to stop or detain you. If the officer didn’t have a reasonable suspicion, any evidence obtained from the stop cannot be used in court, and any arrest resulting from the stop is considered “pretextual” and your charges are subject to dismissal.

David Cantor explains the Arizona DUI Defense of No Reasonable Suspicion to Stop:

 

Thus, “no reasonable suspicion to stop” is a legitimate defense to a DUI charge that can get your charges dropped. To meet the “reasonable suspicion” burden, the officer must have a rational reason to believe that you were driving under the influence. Simply driving in an area with bars around closing time does not, in and of itself, give rise to a legally sufficient reasonable suspicion. Additionally, characterizations such as age, race, or physical appearance are insufficient grounds. In order to have a “reasonable suspicion,” the officer must suspect criminal activity based on specific, objective facts.

In Arizona, the leading case on the issue of reasonable suspicion is Livingston v. State of Arizona. In Livingston, the arresting officers were members of a special drug task force that pulled over the defendant while he was driving on a curved stretch of highway near Globe, Arizona. According to the officers, the defendant strayed over the yellow line three times while driving about 50 miles per hour. After pulling the defendant over, the officers found several hundred pounds of marijuana.

However, the fruits of the search were nullified because the court found the officer’s “hunch” based on a combination of race and alleged erratic driving was insufficient to be reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot. The court then classified the stop as pretextual and dismissed the case in its entirety.

While that case involved drugs, the situation is applicable to DUI cases as well. Many times, officers will claim to have seen a person drive out of their lane near a bar, failed to signal a turn or failed to come to a complete stop a stop sign. And in many cases, we are able to get charges dropped due to lack of a reasonable suspicion.

If this situation applies to you, please review our DUI case victories because we have been very successful applying this DUI Defense to cases in Arizona. For a free consultation and case review, contact us today at (602) 560-4004 or fill out a secure, confidential online form.

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