If you’ve been stopped for suspicion of DUI or OUI, your experience with an officer may have been unlawful, as not every traffic stop is legal. There are certain things you’ll want to be mindful of during a traffic stop that could make or break your case.
Amid all of the stress and anxiety that comes with being pulled over, you have to keep your head on straight and pay attention to what is being asked of you.
Why You’re Pulled Over
This should be obvious to you. If it isn’t, it should be made obvious to you. If you’re not sure why you’ve been pulled over, it’s perfectly legal for you to kindly ask the officer.
The officer must have a legitimate reason to stop you. In the absence of any civil motor vehicle infractions, the officer must have “reasonable suspicion” to believe that you have committed, are committing, or are about to commit a crime in order to effectuate a stop.
An illegal or unlawful stop happens when officers don’t have “reasonable suspicion” that you are in violation the law. A mere hunch is not enough. Their suspicions must be backed by “specific and articulable” facts.
It’s the Fourth Amendment that protects all Americans from unlawful searches and seizures. Under Massachusetts law, a motor vehicle stop is a seizure and is therefore subject to Fourth Amendment scrutiny.
If evidence is discovered during a suspected DUI or OUI traffic stop, your lawyer can work to prove whether or not the officers obtained the evidence illegally. This could result in key evidence being suppressed. For example, if your lawyer can prove that reasonable suspicion didn’t exist for the stop, any other evidence, such as breathalyzer/chemical testing could be thrown out thanks to the “exclusionary rule” in Massachusetts.
It’s clearly important that anyone pulled over for a suspected DUI is able to give their lawyer detailed information that could help prove their innocence. What may seem like an insignificant mistake or mishap to you could be the deciding factor in your legal case, so always pay attention.
What to Know
Your lawyer will ask you detailed questions about your experience. You should know basic details like the exact time you were pulled over, how long you were pulled over for, the name of the arresting officer, the name of the officer filing the report if that is different, where you were pulled over, and where the officer said they started following you.
Any other information you can provide could help. This information could include anything from your account of the interaction, answers from the police, police reports, or arraignment/pre-trial documents. Your lawyer is trying to paint a picture of the scene and approach the case from every angle. The more you are able to tell them, the more likely they will be able to help you.
It’s best to speak with a lawyer right after any questionable brush with the law while the detailed information is fresh in your mind. Call us today at (508) 930-4273.