The elements of a DWI traffic stop

The elements of a DWI traffic stop

Taking to the road after having a few drinks may end with your arrest. Police agencies across Missouri want to get impaired people off the road.

Police do not get to operate as they wish. There are certain legalities associated with stopping and arresting people they believe are driving under the influence. Discover what some of these rules are and what they mean for you.

Reasonable suspicion to pull you over

Police officers patrol local roads and highways throughout Missouri to keep the public safe. When they witness drivers commit driving offenses, they have the right to pull them over. When it comes to stopping someone under the suspicion of impairment, an officer must have reasonable suspicion that you are driving while impaired. Without this, an officer cannot stop you. Examples of reasonable suspicion may include:

  • Weaving in and out of traffic erratically
  • Going slower than the speed limit allows
  • Stopping in the middle of the road
  • Lane drifting

An officer who witnesses this or other erratic driving behaviors may have grounds for proving reasonable suspicion, justifying the stop.

Field sobriety testing and breathalyzer

After speaking with you, the officer may want to delve further into investigating whether you are under the influence. One common tool officers use is field sobriety testing to help establish if someone can function well enough to drive.

The police may also request that you take a breathalyzer or blood test to more accurately measure the amount of a substance in your system. Under the state’s implied consent law, if an officer asks you to take a blood or breath test measuring alcohol or drug content, you must do it. Refusing to take these tests results in an automatic one-year revocation of your license.

Failing these tests gives the police probable cause to make an arrest. If you find yourself in this situation, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney who can help mount your defense.

The Johnson Law Firm, LLC, can answer your questions about what our legal practices. Contact us for a free consultation. We are located in St. Charles and serve the surrounding areas of Missouri.