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Know your rights before police stop you on the road

Thinking back to the night you pulled off the road when you saw flashing police lights in your rearview mirror, you'd probably like to forget the whole thing and pretend it never happened. You know that's not possible, however, especially since you're currently facing DUI charges in an Arizona court as a result of the incident. When accused of a crime, it's not necessarily reason to lose hope. There are often several options available to avoid conviction.

The trick is knowing which particular option would most increase your chances of preserving your freedom. When preparing a defense to fight drunk driving charges in court, you may want to reach out for support from someone who knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system -- someone who can help you review the events that led to your arrest and determine whether evidence exists that suggests police may have failed to adhere to protocol.

Rules that govern traffic stops

If police had a roadblock set up the night they arrested you, you're in a situation where there didn't have to be probable cause to stop you. Checkpoints are constitutionally sound although many people disagree with that assessment. There are, however, other regulations, such as those listed below, that govern police actions when making traffic stops:

  • Pay close attention to why police stop you: When a police officer pulls you over, you have every right to know why he or she made the stop. If you later face DUI charges, it's important to think back to determine whether police had probable cause to stop you in the first place. For instance, if your car tires veered over the yellow line, this would be all the reason police would need to make a stop.
  • Lack of probable cause may lead to dismissal: Even if you were indeed intoxicated while driving, if police did not have probable cause to stop you in the first place, the court can dismiss the charges against you. 
  • Some situations warrant investigation without visible cause: Just because a police officer didn't see you do anything to raise suspicion doesn't necessarily mean he or she can't ask you to submit to a Breathalyzer or field sobriety test. If, for instance, you are involved in a collision, this could create reasonable suspicion that would allow the officer to further investigate the matter.

The thing about submitting a request for the court to dismiss your drunk driving case is that, if you plan to claim grounds that police acted without probable cause or a similar assertion, it will wind up being your word against the arresting police officer's word. That could prove to be your biggest challenge yet! This is why most Arizona drivers facing DUI charges reach out for experienced support before heading to court.

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