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Part 1 of 9 of Your DUI Case: The Traffic Stop

Law Office of Edward Ramirez Team
Was it a Valid Traffic Stop that Resulted in the DUI?

In most DUI cases a police officer first conducts a traffic stop. Most stops occur when the officer observes abnormal driving, such as weaving within a lane or straddling a divider line. On other occasions an officer may conduct a traffic stop due to traffic violations such as speeding, running a stop sign or an equipment violation such as a defective taillight. If you were stopped without a valid reason, your attorney should conduct a probable cause hearing (under penal code section 1538.5) to suppress all evidence obtained by the police, such as physical signs of alcohol or drug intoxication including slurred speech or an unsteady gait, admissions you have made regarding alcohol or drug consumption and results of field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. Were there witnesses in your car who can support your version of the story? Your attorney should interview them.

Was Your Car Already Stopped by the Roadside when the Officer First Approached You?

If you were in a traffic accident not observed by the officer, the officer may have insufficient evidence to prove you were the driver, unless another driver at the scene says he or she saw you drive, or unless you admit to the officer you were driving. If there was another occupant of your vehicle the police will have to determine which occupant was the actual driver. What if you drove the car while sober, stopped due to mechanical problems and afterwards had a drink while waiting for a tow truck? The officer may have stopped to investigate, noted symptoms of intoxication and wrongfully assumed you were driving while under the influence. Your attorney should investigate facts that support these events.

What if the Officer Falsified the Reasons for the Stop?

If the arresting officer falsified reasons for the arrest, such as seeing a traffic violation, your attorney can file a motion to discover evidence in the officer’s personnel file of alleged prior use of ethnic or racial bias, falsifying of information or planting evidence. This is called a Pitchess Motion. If you had a passenger, your attorney should interview your passenger about the truthfulness of the officer.

Posted in: DUI

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