Being arrested for drunk driving is a serious offense in Memphis. Those who are convicted of a DUI charge face high fines, license revocation, and other penalties. But in order for a person to be stopped on suspicion of drunk driving there needs to be reasonable suspicion. So what is reasonable suspicion for DWI purposes?

Most of the time, law enforcement can only stop a driver if they have reasonable suspicion to do so. The exception would be if a DWI checkpoint has been set up. There are many different examples of a reasonable cause. These include if a driver crosses over the center line, if he stays in the center of the road, if he is driving extremely slow or erratically, if he stops in the middle of the road without a reason, he makes an illegal turn, or he almost hits other cars on the road, among many other reasons.

A person may also be arrested for DUI if they were pulled over for another traffic infraction, such as a burned out headlight, and alcohol is detected, or if there has been a car accident and an officer suspects alcohol may have been involved. Reasonable suspicion is enough to stop and detain a person to investigate whether they have been driving under the influence. In order for a person to be arrested for a DWI, though, there needs to be probable cause, which is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion. Probable cause for an arrest can arise in many ways, including failed a field sobriety test.

Because a DWI conviction can be such a serious matter it is important for those who are arrested to make sure they have a strong defense. A legal professional skilled in criminal defense may be able to help a defendant tell their side of the story and negotiate a fair settlement.

Source: FindLaw, “What is reasonable suspicion for a DUI stop?” accessed on July 4, 2015