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Reasonable Suspicion for a DUI Stop

Our Long Island DUI Defense Attorneys can help with your DUI or DWI charge.

What Does Reasonable Suspicion Mean in a Long Island DUI?

Before law enforcement in New York can arrest you for driving under the influence (DUI), they must first pull you over and conduct an investigation that provides them with probable cause to believe you are driving under the influence of alcohol. Before the officer can stop your car, the officer must first have reasonable suspicion. This simplified explanation does little to clarify the answer to the question, “When can an officer stop my car in Long Island?” The answer is, “When the officer has reasonable suspicion” – but what exactly constitutes “reasonable suspicion”?

What Reasonable Suspicion is Not

Simply put, reasonable suspicion is a suspicion that is not a “mere hunch” but rather is based on “specific, articulable, and objective facts” that when considered together with the reasonable inferences from those facts would lead a rational law enforcement officer to believe a particular person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Sometimes, though, it is easier to clarify what reasonable suspicion is by explaining what reasonable suspicion is not. Reasonable suspicion is not:

  • Probable cause to arrest (probable cause requires greater evidence of criminal culpability and is the burden of proof needed to place someone under arrest);
  • A “mere hunch” or guess that someone might be up to no good;
  • Proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the you have in fact committed a crime or were about to commit a crime.

Officers are permitted to use their experience, training, and specialized law enforcement knowledge when evaluating the facts and circumstances of a situation to determine if probable cause exists.

When Does an Officer Need to Have Reasonable Suspicion That I am Driving Under the Influence?

Officers must possess reasonable suspicion in order to initially stop your vehicle (although at the time of the initial stop they do not need to have reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence – just reasonable suspicion you have, are, or are about to commit a crime). Committing a traffic violation, driving without displaying a valid license plate, or concerning behavior like significant trouble controlling your vehicle can all provide an officer with enough reasonable suspicion to stop your car.

Officers must also possess reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence in order to contact a DUI investigation (including requesting that you blow into a breath testing machine or give up a sample of your blood for testing). In other words, if an officer stops you because you are speeding, the officer must then develop reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of alcohol before he or she would be permitted to detain you to further investigate.

Contact 888-DUI-Lawyer to Speak to A Knowledgeable Long Island Drunk Driving Lawyer

If you find yourself pulled over and charged for DUI in Long Island, contact 888-DUI-Lawyer as soon as possible and let us investigate your case. You may be entitled to a dismissal of your DUI charges an officer stopped your vehicle or conducted a DUI investigation without reasonable suspicion. Call us at 888-DUI-Lawyer or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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