A drunk driving arrest can change the course of your life. One moment you are driving home from dinner or a night out, and the next moment you are facing the potential of a criminal conviction. Whether it is your first offense or you have a history of OUIs on your record, you would be wise to take quick action to start working on a defense strategy.
One of the primary steps in this process is identifying why Massachusetts police pulled you over in the first place. Law enforcement cannot pull drivers over without a clear reason to do so. Reasonable suspicion is what allows them to do this, and it includes the various types of behaviors that may indicate a person is intoxicated behind the wheel.
What counts as reasonable suspicion?
Intoxicated drivers often display dangerous behaviors that may increase the chance of an accident. When police notice certain things, they may suspect that a crime is taking place, which gives them grounds to detain and question the driver. In most cases, reasonable suspicion for an OUI traffic stop can happen for any of the following reasons:
- Straddling the center line or having trouble maintaining the lane
- Failing to stop at an intersection or yield to oncoming traffic
- Hitting or almost hitting cars and other stationary objects on the side of the road
- Driving erratically or extremely slowly for no apparent reason
- Braking frequently and stopping in the road at random
This is not a complete list of things that could give law enforcement a reason to stop a driver. Police have the authority to make a judgment call and stop a driver if they think it is necessary. However, this does not mean they can infringe on your rights or stop you if you were not doing anything wrong.
Start your defense planning now
Your future is on the line, but you can start working immediately after an arrest to develop a defense strategy that will give you the best chance by which you can actively confront the charges against you. An OUI conviction can bring penalties to your life that include time behind bars, expensive fines and loss of driving privileges, but you can fight back.
An assessment of your case can help you understand what you can do to defend your future interests and keep a mark off your permanent record. You may benefit from seeking experienced legal guidance as soon as possible after an arrest.