In order for a person to be arrested for DWI, probable cause must exist. However, a lower standard of “proof” called reasonable suspicion may be enough for a law enforcement officer to begin an investigation.
Legal Definition of Reasonable Suspicion
Reasonable suspicion is the lowest threshold needed to allow an officer to conduct a stop or brief detention. Reasonable suspicion exists if, based on the circumstances of the case, any objective, reasonable police officer would have reason to suspect that a crime has been, is being or may be committed. While the criteria for reasonable suspicion are subjective, reasonable suspicion does require more than an officer’s “hunch”. To begin an investigation for drunk driving, for example, an officer needs to observe signs of impaired driving (e.g. lane drift, erratic speed) and/or driver intoxication (e.g. smell alcohol).
How Reasonable Suspicion Relates to DWI Arrests
Reasonable suspicion is sufficient to allow a law enforcement officer to begin a drunk driving investigation. Any signs of impaired driving or driver intoxication can serve as grounds to conduct field sobriety tests, chemical BAC tests and/or search your vehicle.
DWI checkpoints present some confusion in regards to reasonable suspicion and your Fourth Amendment rights. If you were arrested at a DWI checkpoint, it is important you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about the circumstances of your arrest.
Expert DWI Criminal Defense
Finding out whether reasonable suspicion existed in your case or not is vital to your DWI defense case. To investigate the circumstances of your arrest, you need an attorney who knows what to look for and how to challenge the standards of reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause.
The lawyers at Patrick J. Martinez & Associates have the expertise you need. Our law firm has focused on DWI defense practice for more than 20 years. We know how to build a strong case in your defense and fight to protect your rights and freedom. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation at our Albuquerque, NM office.