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Why focus on the traffic stop when you're facing charges for DUI?

When you come into contact with law enforcement officials here in Utah or anywhere else in the country, you have certain constitutional rights that govern their contact with you. If those rights are violated, any evidence gathered from that point forward might not be admissible in court. This is why reviewing the circumstances surrounding the initial traffic stop when you are facing charges for DUI is so important.

A police officer's opinion that you are acting suspicious is not enough to initiate a traffic stop. Traffic stops must be predicated on some reasonable suspicion. Some actions that can provide an officer with reasonable suspicion are speeding, reckless driving or weaving. Even driving too slowly or not using your turn signal can give an officer a reason to stop you.

Once you are stopped, a limited investigation follows. The officer will make observations regarding your behavior, look at items that are in plain sight inside your vehicle and ask for your driver's license, registration and insurance information. If the officer then suspects that you are impaired, you will be asked to submit to a breath test and/or perform field sobriety tests. Based on the information gathered, you might be arrested for driving under the influence.

Now that you are facing charges for DUI, all of your contact with the officer or officers once the traffic stop was initiated could be used as evidence in a Utah court. Scrutinizing the traffic stop itself will help determine whether the officer had a valid, legal reason to stop you. If it turns out that an argument can be made that your civil rights were violated because the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, the charges against you could be dropped.

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