As a general rule, the police need to have a reason to pull over a car. They cannot simply pull someone over because they want to give that person a breath test and see if they are impaired. They need a reason to believe the person is impaired already, or they need another reason for the traffic stop.
As a result, the police are often looking for excuses to pull over vehicles. They know that the traffic stop may be escalated into a DWI stop if they suspect the person is impaired after talking to them. But they still need that reason to legally stop the car in the first place, or the DWI arrest isn’t going to stand. What are some excuses that they use?
One thing to consider is that even the aesthetic choices you make with your vehicle are limited. In Missouri, some windows can only be tinted to 35%. A police officer may pull over a vehicle that he or she believes has windows that are too darkly tinted. Window tint doesn’t seem to have anything to do with drunk driving, but it gives the officer an excuse to stop the car and talk to the driver, which could then lead to a DWI arrest.
Breaking minor traffic laws
The police will also look for instances in which a driver breaks very minor laws. For example, someone could signal slightly too late before they change lanes or not quite come to a complete stop at an empty intersection. They may claim that neither of these mistakes increased the odds of an accident or put anyone in danger. But both of these things are technically illegal, so it does give police the reason to stop the car.
What if they didn’t have a reason?
You may find yourself facing charges and thinking that the police never should have pulled you over to begin with. If so, it’s very important to understand the alleged reason for the stop and the fact that random stops are not permitted. You need to carefully consider all of your legal rights and what defense options you have to protect yourself from an unjust charge.