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Officers Must Have a Reasonable Suspicion of Impairment to Pull You Over for a DUI

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Florida after being pulled over by an officer, then you may be able to secure a dismissal of the DUI case on the basis that the officer lacked “reasonable suspicion” to initiate a traffic stop.

In the state of Florida (and in jurisdictions throughout the United States), police officers must justify their traffic stop on the basis of having: 1) reasonable suspicion of driver impairment; 2) probable cause of a traffic violation or criminal violation; or 3) a warrant for your arrest.  Drivers who are stopped without sufficient justification may be able to secure a dismissal of their DUI case.

Let’s take a closer look.

The Reasonable Suspicion Standard

Whether the police officer who initiates the traffic stop at-issue has a reasonable suspicion to investigate you for a DUI depends on the presence of various indicators of impairment:

  • Lane position (swerving, driving between lanes, drifting)
  • Speed (too slow, too fast)
  • Response to traffic signals (failing to respond fast enough to a signal, showing confused behavior at a traffic signal)
  • Other errors (failing to turn on lights, shifting lanes without using a turn indicator, following too close to another vehicle, or leaving too much space while in traffic)

It’s important to note that the fact that you showcased an indicator of impairment is not sufficient — the officer must have actually observed one or more of these indicators.  If they did not directly observe you acting in an “impaired” manner, then reasonable suspicion was not established.

Counter-Evidence May Be Critical

In order to successfully counter the police officer’s assertion that they had “reasonable suspicion” or “probable cause” to initiate a traffic stop, evidence to the contrary may be critical.  For example, if the officer is arguing that you were swerving — thus giving them reasonable suspicion that you were impaired — then you could effectively counter this argument by introducing video evidence from a dash cam (yours or others on the roadway) showing that you were driving in a stable manner within the lane.

Contact Fowler Law Group for a Free Consultation

Here at Fowler Law Group, our Sarasota DUI attorneys have extensive experience advocating on behalf of those who have been charged with a DUI offense.

We understand the frustration and anxiety that defendants face after having been charged with a DUI and are committed to working closely with clients to ensure that they are not only able to secure a favorable resolution to the conflict, but that they remain comfortable and informed throughout the process.

If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, we encourage you to calls us at 941-404-8919 or to submit an online case evaluation form today to schedule an initial consultation.


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Fowler Law Group proudly represents the citizens of Sarasota and Manatee Counties as well as the surrounding Tampa Bay area. Our experienced team will help guide you through the judicial process and answer all of your questions with honesty and integrity. We understand the important nature of your call, and we will strive to return all calls within 24 hours. Contact us today by completing our online form or calling us at 941-404-8909.