Law enforcement officers have a right to stop a driver when they have reasonable suspicion that the driver has violated traffic rules. While all traffic rules may warrant a police stop, the most common reason the police would stop a driver is a DUI suspicion.
One thing an officer may look out for to determine if a driver is intoxicated would be driving behavior such as swerving in and out of lanes, weaving through traffic, or exhibiting any other form of intoxication.
Anonymous Tip Stops
There are also times that the stop could result from an anonymous tip. For example, if someone has had too many drinks and insists on driving home, an establishment’s employee could make a 911 call to alert the police.
Traditionally, persons facing DUI charges resulting from anonymous tips could challenge the charges citing a lack of probable cause for a traffic stop. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Navarette v. California case gave anonymous tips a probable cause status. Thus, it can be used as a reason for a traffic stop. But, an anonymous tip cannot be reason enough to make an arrest. The police must conduct field sobriety tests or other testings to establish if the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Details Of The Tipper
The credibility of the tipper can also influence the strength of their testimony and can determine if the police will act on it or not. For anonymous tips to count as credible, they must come through reliable means such as a 911 call. It is improbable that someone will call 911 with fictitious claims, knowing their call is traceable.
The caller may also be required to provide details about their suspicions of drunk driving, including seeing the driver drinking while at the wheel, aggressive driving, or seeing them visibly intoxicated when getting behind the wheel. Other details can include the vehicle’s license plates and location.
Consequences Of A DUI Conviction
Accidents resulting from DUI usually lead to devastating injuries to the at-fault driver and other road users that had nothing to do with their reckless behavior. Unlike other moving violations, drunk driving is charged as a criminal offense that could result in severe consequences, including fines, jail time, and license revocation or suspension. The severity of punishment depends on prior convictions with the offense or if the DUI results in injuries or death of other road users.
If you are facing DUI charges resulting from an anonymous tip, you may need to contact a DUI defense lawyer for help fighting your case. Even when the arrest may not result from an anonymous tip, you will still need to hire a criminal lawyer to better your chances of getting a fair outcome for your DUI charges.
Avoid It In The First Place
But the best way of avoiding DUI charges is to avoid driving while intoxicated. Having a non-drinking friend tag along on a night out, calling a cab, and leaving your car at home if you intend to drink are the most effective ways of ensuring you do not drink and drive.