Why were you pulled over? That’s one of the first questions I ask a potential new client. It’s so important because everything that happens afterward–interaction with law enforcement, field sobriety tests, arrest, breath or blood sample–comes from the traffic stop. It’s important to know and analyze why you were pulled over because there has to be reasonable suspicion. The police need to have some grounds that there is a violation of the law going on. It could be speeding, not using a turn signal, or driving over the center line. But just about anytime the police turn on the blue lights it’s considered a detention–in other words a restraint on your liberty–and the constitution demands that they have a good reason for that. For instance, speeding is one of the most common reasons to pull over a driver and look for further criminal activity. If the officer was using a radar, laser, or similar device, it can’t be admitted in court unless the state establishes that the officer was trained according to federal and state guidelines. So even when they tell you they’ve got a good reason, make them prove it.
What if they don’t have such a reason? A motion to suppress can be filed to throw the charge out. An officer must be able to articulate something more than a hunch that a suspect is engaged in criminal activity. Without that, the stop and everything flowing from it could be unconstitutional. The only way to know if this happened to you is to talk to an experienced Memphis DUI attorney. Your attorney will analyze the case and ask you questions about how, when, where, and of course why you were pulled over.