The Experience You Need.
The Service You Deserve.

Alaska police need reasonable suspicion for DUI stops

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Being pulled over by an Alaska police officer for a traffic stop can be stressful. However, a person facing such circumstances may feel less stressed the individual is aware of his or her rights ahead of time. This is especially true if a police officer asks a driver to step out of his or her vehicle, which usually means that the officer in question suspects the driver of DUI.  

There has to be a legitimate reason to suspect DUI 

If a police officer claims that he or she witnessed a vehicle straddling the yellow line as the driver navigated a particular stretch of road, this would probably be a legitimate reason for making a DUI stop. Police must have a specific reason for pulling someone over. Additional reasons to suspect DUI might include witnessing a driver engaging a left turn signal but making a right turn instead, applying brakes in the middle of a road for no apparent reason or traveling at a speed that is far under the posted limit and does not align with current traffic patterns.  

After reasonable suspicion to make a stop, probable cause to arrest is needed 

Even witnessing a driver veering across a yellow line is not enough evidence to make a DUI arrest. It is, however, enough reason to make a traffic stop. From there, a police officer must establish probable cause if he or she believes a driver should be arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Probable cause is often established through a preliminary alcohol screening (a roadside breath test) and/or a field sobriety test.  

If there is evidence of a personal rights violation 

A licensed Alaska driver or driver in any other state is protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution against unlawful search and seizure. Also, no driver is obligated to comply with a request to take a roadside breath screening or field sobriety test. If a person winds up facing DUI charges and believes that his or her rights were violated before, during or after the arrest, he or she may challenge a portion or all of the evidence as inadmissible or may even ask the court to dismiss the case.