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When can a cop pull me over?

No one wants to see it: Flashing red lights and behind you, signaling you to pull over.

You were out with friends, carousing and having a good time, but not over-indulging. It’s late, you have an early ball game with the kids and you just want to get to bed. Yet, here you are, on the side of the road, waiting for the cop to approach, wondering how long this will take before you can get back on the road.

A flashlight in your eyes

The cop is by your door, your window is down and suddenly you see a massive flashlight shining in your eyes. The cop is observing your eye movements: eyes that don’t track smoothly are a sign of intoxication.

You feel like rolling your eyes, and you wonder: what reason does a cop have for pulling me over? Does he need a reason, or can he just do it because he feels like it?

Reasonable suspicion

 For a stop to be legal, an officer needs to be able to articulate a reasonable suspicion for pulling you over: you crossed the yellow line, you were too fast, you were driving too slow, you didn’t have your headlights on, you had your high beams on, you were driving too far to the right, you were too close to the car in front, you were breaking frequently.

You get the picture — it doesn’t take much for law enforcement to find a reason to pull you over, and as long as he can clearly state why he stopped you and another person (read: judge) would also find it a reasonable, your stop will be upheld.

Are there times the stop is illegal?

There are definitely reasons a stop is illegal, and when facing a charge of DWI, its essential to have an attorney with the ability to assess the stop and its legality.

An experienced lawyer can mean the difference between huge fines, jail time, increased insurance rates and a dismissed charge. In essence, engaging an attorney allows you to protect yourself and your future.

 

 

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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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