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What to do after an illegal traffic stop

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2020 | Criminal Law |

Were you stopped while driving after having one or two drinks, but believe the police officer pulled you over without reasonable evidence? You may be able to go forward with a case.

It is illegal for the police to request a traffic stop without a valid reason. Understanding the factors that impact whether a search is legal or illegal may help you understand your rights and how to move forward with your defense.

Importance of probable cause

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people against illegal search and seizure. To legally perform a traffic stop, a police officer needs to establish probable cause.

Examples of probable cause include speeding, weaving on the road, having a broken taillight or having an expired registration sticker. In these types of instances, officers are within their rights to perform a traffic stop; however, some officers may illegally request a stop based on a hunch.

If an officer sees a couple leave a bar and decides to pull them over, with the assumption he or she may have drunk too much, it may be an illegal stop if the two people showed no indications of inebriation.

Exceptions to probable cause

DUI checkpoints or police roadblock do not have the same requirements for probable cause. If your traffic stop occurred due to one of these situations, you may have difficulties moving forward with a case.

Evidence to support your case

If you wish to move forward with a case for an illegal stop, you need evidence to support your claim. Video proof is particularly useful to support your case. Footage from a police officer’s dashcam or traffic cameras may be helpful evidence to bring forward to fight against the officer’s claim of probable cause.

It may be possible to have your case dismissed by showing the officer violated your constitutional rights. Illegal obtained evidence may make your case inadmissible. Discussing your case with legal counsel may be useful for determining the next steps to take.