The first contact that many drivers who are suspected of being impaired behind the wheel have with Utah law enforcement officials is through a traffic stop. Once an officer has pulled you over, he or she will automatically begin assessing you to determine whether you are impaired. However, a mere suspicion is not necessarily enough to arrest you for DUI or DWI.
If an officer did not have sufficient probable cause to make the traffic stop, the charges might not stand up to the scrutiny of ta criminal court. This is why every defense to charges in these circumstances typically begins with the evaluation of the traffic stop itself. Many officers develop a sixth sense regarding drivers with experience, but that suspicion is not enough to substantiate a traffic stop.
In order to pull you over, an officer must have some factual basis to stop you, such as speeding, weaving between lanes or forgetting to turn on your headlights after dark, among other traffic violations. If you are pulled over, the officer is allowed to conduct a limited inquiry that often includes asking for your driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance. The officer must have reasonable suspicion that can be backed up by facts in order to take further action.
After an arrest for DUI or DWI, it is crucial that you bring in your attorney as soon as possible. If it is established that the officer did not have probable cause to make the initial traffic stop, any additional investigation such as field sobriety tests or breath tests might not be admissible in a Utah court as evidence. This means that the case could be dismissed because the officer violated your rights by not following proper procedure.