A Walnut Creek DUI attorney may use improper motivation for a traffic stop as a defense in your drunk driving case. However, improper motivation does not always make a stop invalid. The United States Supreme Court says that officers can pull a driver over for any reason although an unrelated drug search might be the intended goal.
Behavior That Triggers Pretext Stops
When you're on the road, a traffic officer can pull you over for any problem, especially those related to your driving or your car. An intoxicated driver might be stopped at any time, but it usually happens after weaving across lanes and driving erratically. Rules about how courts determine the legality of DUI stops vary widely in California and other states.
Continued Weaving in a Lane
Courts generally find that weaving gives officers reasonable cause to initiate a DUI stop, but the weaving must continue for a substantial distance. One California court found that continued weaving for three-quarters of a mile was appropriate cause. Other courts say that traffic stops are not justified if a car weaves in its own lane and doesn't cross over the lines. A court in Texas found that a traffic stop was not permitted after an officer tailed a weaving car for 1.5 miles. The car swerved within the lane between two and seven times. The officer's uncertainty regarding the details led the court to reach this determination.
Contact a Walnut Creek DUI Attorney
Decisions regarding the legality of traffic stops for weaving between lanes vary widely within states and in different cases. If you've been arrested for DUI or DWI after an unjustified traffic stop, contact the Law Office of Blackie Burak at (925) 933-4500 to schedule a free consultation. As a Walnut Creek DUI attorney, I focus exclusively on protecting the rights of Californians who are facing serious intoxicated driving charges.