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Your DWI traffic stop and your defense strategy

A drunk driving charge can bring negative effects to your life for years to come. This is why it is essential to consider ways you can effectively fight back, starting with developing a strong defense strategy. You have the right to challenge every aspect of the prosecution’s case, including your initial traffic stop. Missouri police cannot initiate a traffic stop simply because they want to. Rather, there must be a clear reason to do so, called reasonable suspicion. 

Reasonable suspicion allows law enforcement to stop a Missouri driver for suspected intoxicated driving. If a close examination of your case determines that the initial traffic stop was invalid for any reason, it could negate the entire case against you. As you consider the appropriate direction for your defense strategy, you would be wise to look at all elements of your case, including the first interactions you had with law enforcement.

What counts as reasonable suspicion?

Most of the time, law enforcement has reasonable suspicion because of the way a person is acting behind the wheel. After they pull a driver over, a conversation with the driver and observation of his or her behavior may lead them to initiate sobriety tests. Some of the most common reasons why a police officer may stop a driver include the following:

  • The vehicle was swerving repeatedly, drifting between lanes or having a difficult time maintaining the lane.
  • The driver hit a parked vehicle or other stationary object while passing it.
  • The driver made an illegal turn, ignored road signs or failed to stop properly at an intersection.
  • The driver was braking frequently, driving extremely slowly or driving erratically.
  • The driver stopped in the middle of the road for no apparent reason.

These are only a few examples of things that may give a cop reasonable suspicion that a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police have the authority to make judgment calls based on what they are observing when determining whether it is appropriate to stop a driver.

Protecting your future 

If you are facing a DWI, it is in your interests to act quickly to explore the defense options available to you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to fighting this type of criminal charge, but an assessment of your case can help you see the most appropriate way forward. Your future, freedom and long-term interests are at stake, but you do not have to face it alone.

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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