Law enforcement across Atlanta treats drunk driving very seriously. Thus, traffic stops are conducted fairly regularly. Traffic stops are the first port of call for officers to further assess the situation. From there, they can conduct Breathalyzer tests, sobriety checks and questioning, which could ultimately result in an arrest.
How do these traffic stops work in practice? Are officers allowed to pull anyone over in an arbitrary manner?
Officers must suspect criminal activity
Generally, if you are minding your own business and fully adhering to the law, officers cannot interfere with your liberty. You cannot be stopped simply because an officer is fed up or impatient with a lack of recent arrests. There must be a valid reason to suspect that something is amiss, otherwise known as reasonable suspicion.
If you’re swerving across the road, driving too fast or demonstrating poor judgment on the roadways, then the police are entitled to pull you over to investigate further.
When might you be charged?
Perhaps you made a simple mistake, such as taking a wrong turn by accident. This doesn’t mean you are drunk or deserve to face criminal actions. For DUI charges to be valid, there must be some clear evidence that alcohol has been consumed. For instance, there may be a distinct smell of alcohol coming from you as you talk. Your speech may be slurred as you essentially admit that you had been drinking moments before being pulled over. These are some common examples of probable cause, and they can lead to an arrest.
Asserting your rights
You should not be targeted randomly by police officers or for any prejudicial reasons. A conviction for a DUI offense can impact you for life, so you must establish the best possible defense.