Receiving a criminal charge for driving while under the influence of alcohol can be overwhelming. A DUI conviction can have far-reaching effects on your life, but you do have options for defending yourself.
Keep in mind that a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion of involvement in a crime in order to lawfully conduct a stop. By understanding the law around traffic stops, you can strive to clear the charges against you by proving that your arrest is the result of an improper DUI stop.
Does the officer have reasonable suspicion of impaired driving?
South Carolina impaired driving laws state that a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher constitutes impaired driving. Even though driving in such an impaired state is certainly a crime, an officer cannot stop you on a mere assumption that you are driving under the influence. There must be witnessable behavior, such as excessive weaving or near-collisions, that warrant reasonable suspicion.
How can you prove a lack of reasonable suspicion?
It can be difficult to refute an officer’s claim that they have reasonable suspicion for conducting a DUI stop, especially if you lack concrete evidence to prove otherwise. Instead, you and your defense team might prove that the stop is the result of factors other than reasonable suspicion. Keep watch for any behavior that might indicate that the officer has a personal bias or other motivation for conducting a wrongful stop.
If you receive a DUI charge in a situation involving the misconduct of a police officer, you can receive a lesser sentence for the crime. In some cases, the court may judge that an arrest during an improper stop is completely invalid.