If you've ever been pulled over in a traffic stop in Tennessee, you know there's no way to predict how such events will unfold. Sometimes, a police officer simply issues a type of warning to a driver then frees him or her to drive on to the intended destination. Other times, detainment lasts much longer and may even result in an arrest for suspicion of drunk driving or some other criminal offense. The law protects motorists, so police can not simply file random charges against them for no apparent reason.
Instead, authorities must have reasonable suspicion to conduct a possible drunk driving stop in the first place. The problem is, this term is rather vague, and you might be surprised just how loosely its application can be in particular situations. For instance, a police officer may claim your rear tire touched the yellow line in the center of the road, and that might be enough to pull you over for suspected DUI.
Other possible reasonable suspicion observations
They say prevention is often the best medicine for many health conditions. Likewise, knowing the law ahead of time, as well as possessing a clear understanding of your civil rights may help you avoid DUI trouble with the law. The following list is comprised of some of the most common claims used as reasonable suspicion by police:
- A motorist used an incorrect turn signal when making a turn.
- The vehicle nearly bumped into an object or curb on the side of the road.
- There were frequent brake applications that didn't coincide with traffic flow.
- The vehicle stopped for no apparent reason.
- A car was veering left or right in its lane.
- The driver's speed didn't match the traffic pattern and/or was above or far below the posted speed limit in the area.
These are merely a few of the things that would likely give a police officer cause to detain you and further investigate an alleged drunk driving suspicion. Reasonable suspicion, however, is quite different from probable cause, which is required to make an arrest. Researching and understanding the difference may help you protect your personal rights if authorities pull you over in a traffic stop. It's also crucial to remember that what you say and do usually bears a significant impact on the outcome of a particular situation.
Merely facing accusations of drunk driving in Tennessee is enough to complicate your life and lead to long-lasting negative consequences. However, no one facing these accusations is automatically deemed guilty, and many motorists are able to avoid convictions and mitigate their circumstances by aligning themselves with experienced and aggressive defense representation in court.