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How does probable cause factor into your DUI?

No driver wants to get pulled over by a law enforcement officer, given the typical legal ramifications of a traffic stop. However, even in cases involving driving under the influence (DUI) charges, you still have rights.

According to the Fourth Amendment, in order for a law enforcement officer to pull you over for DUI, they must have probable cause. If you did not break the law, or there was no valid suspicion of you breaking the law, there ought not be a legal reason for police interaction.

What constitutes probable cause?

When Pennsylvania law enforcement officers set up DUI checkpoints, they provide notice which gives you the opportunity to avoid them. Elsewhere, police typically need good reason to stop your vehicle.

Drunk or drug-related traffic stops must be based on directly-observed driving impairment, which may possibly present harm to yourself or others. In some cases, police rely on tips from the public to determine whether they should stop a vehicle.

Legal reasons for traffic stops often include:

  • Erratic driving
  • Excessive speed
  • Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign
  • Driving under the speed limit
  • Drifting across lanes

Writing down the events which took place during your traffic stop, including the officer's reason for pulling you over, may help you preserve your driving privileges if you were pulled over unlawfully.

Even in cases of a DUI arrest, an experienced attorney can help you fight your charges. If the involved law enforcement officer is unable to provide sound reason for your traffic stop, the evidence from that stop might be inadmissible in court.

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106 South Main Street
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Butler, PA 16001

Phone: 412-342-8000
Fax: 724-284-9402
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100 Ross St.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 724-602-4583
Fax: 724-284-9402
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