DWI Charge? Why Did The Officer Stop You In The First Place?

2 September 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog


For many people pulled over and arrested for a DWI, there's often some confusion. The main cause of that confusion is why the situation occurred at all. Often, those who illegally drive while intoxicated feel they're driving perfectly well. What gave the cop the right to stop them?

How Was Your Driving?

There are a few factors at play here. One of those factors is your own belief that you were driving normally. Alcohol, many illegal drugs, and many prescription drugs can all lead to bad judgement when on the road.

This is the main reason why it's illegal to drive while intoxicated in any way. That bad judgement can stem from:

  • Weakened or altered senses
  • Deteriorated motor skills
  • An altered mind state

Any of these things can lead you into thinking you're driving just fine when, in reality, you're driving like someone intoxicated. However, even if you were driving perfectly, obeying all the rules of the road, and not calling attention to yourself, an officer can still stop you.

Reasonable Suspicion

In general, law enforcement can stop you if they have a "reasonable suspicion." The main cause of a DWI stop comes from your behavior on the road. But if you actually have kept your driving under control, then where is the reasonable suspicion that caused the stop?

  • If the officer suspects you of committing a crime (you fit a description)
  • If the vehicle you're in fits the description of a car involved in a crime
  • If the officer heard from a third party that you're intoxicated
  • If the officer witnesses you leaving a place known for harboring intoxicated people

The officer needs to have a reasonable suspicion of something before they stop you. Unfortunately, even if they don't, you can still end up with a DWI charge. For example, even if the officer pulled you over for nothing, he or she can still find evidence of your intoxication once they have you temporarily detained.

A Pointless Stop Is Illegal, but Hard to Prove

Police officers cannot pull you over without a reason. But if they find evidence that you're intoxicated once they do pull you over, then they have the right to detain you, administer a test, and arrest you.

The proof of your intoxication can trump the reason the officer pulled you over for in the first place. After all, how do you prove that, while intoxicated, you were stopped for no reason?

So What are Your Options?

There are a few ways to fight a DWI charge that started with an illegal stop. However, your options depend largely on your jurisdiction. Every state has its own laws regarding police and how reasonable suspicion works. Every city, town, or other municipality has their own laws regarding the same thing.

That's why it's important that you hire an attorney well–versed in DWI cases if you're facing such a charge. You should always fight a DWI charge, and you should always seek professional aid to help you fight it. A local lawyer will have insight into how best to deal with your case.