Police officers in the suburbs are often overzealous in stopping people for alleged infractions. For example, it is quite common for someone to get stopped while driving at night for supposed traffic infractions that would not get a second look during the day, such as speeding five mph over the limit, failing to signal, or general equipment violations. If you are pulled over and then accused of DUI, the basis for the stop itself is a major determining factor for the rest of your case!
Dating back to 1968, the United States Supreme Court has held that a brief, non-custodial traffic stop is a considered a “seizure” within the meaning of the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. The 4th Amendment says that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched or things to be seized.” In plain English, a police officer needs SOME reason to pull over a driver based on an alleged violation of the law. The police need more than a “hunch” and cannot pull someone over simply because they are bored.
Simply put, a driver cannot be stopped unless an officer has a reasonable and articulate basis to believe a traffic law or other law has been broken. Similarly, a person cannot be seized unless a violation has occurred.
A stop can be illegal in a few ways. First, no violation of the law may have occurred in the first place. Second, the cop may be overzealous in thinking some activity is a violation of the law, when it really is not (i.e. improper lane use). Third, the time of the stop must not be overly long. Lastly, if someone is blocked in to a parking space by police and is not free to leave, an illegal stop and seizure may have occurred.
An experienced Wheaton DUI lawyer will go through every aspect of your case, including the supposed reason you were pulled over in the first place. If the initial stop of you or your car was illegal, the rest of your case may be thrown out of court! Please contact Ramsell & Kunowski, L.L.C. today to have attorneys with over 60 years of legal experience and analysis review whether or not the initial reasons a cop pulled you over were valid.