Not all traffic stops are lawful

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2019 | violations of rights

North Carolina motorists are often pulled over by police because they run red lights, speed or forget to activate their turn signals. Some of these can also be signs that a motorist is intoxicated from drugs or alcohol. It’s possible for someone in Statesville to be stopped for having a broken headlight, expired tags or a potentially hazardous mechanical defect. Not all stops are lawful, however.

If a police officer sees you swerving your car, driving without your headlights on, weaving in and out of traffic, then they may have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI).

Once they pull you over, they may ask you to perform field sobriety tests to confirm that you’re not drunk. If you successfully pass them, then you should be given a warning or a simple traffic citation and be allowed to go on your way. If you don’t, then an officer may have probable cause to place you under arrest on suspicion of DWI/DUI.

Any stop that occurs simply because a motorist is operating a vehicle late at night, especially if it’s around the time at which most bars close in the area, may be unlawful. In many cases, officers will find unreasonable pretexts to stop a driver at that time in order to “fish” for suspected DWI/DUI cases.

Incidents in which overzealous police officers make unlawful traffic stops occur more often than people probably realize. These types of incidents may result in criminal charges that never should have happened. If you suspect that your traffic stop was illegal, consult with a criminal defense attorney who’s prepared to fight for your freedom and your rights.