Police must have a valid reason for pulling you over and accusing you of drunk driving. This valid reason might be as simple as you running a stop sign or not having your headlights turned on. Then, if the officer sees you're exhibiting the signs of inebriation, he or he she might perform a field sobriety check.
If, on the other hand, the officer did not have a valid reason for pulling you over -- and he or she later accuses you of DUI -- you might be able to get the charges dismissed.
Typical reasons for traffic stop that leads to DUI charges
Here are the most common and legally valid reasons for a traffic stop that might lead to a DUI charge:
Any violation of traffic rules: If a police officer sees you speeding, running a stop sign, driving the wrong way, not having your headlights on at night -- or violating some other rule -- you can be legally pulled over.
Erratic driving: An officer might witness you swerving, or doing things that don't make sense or look suspicious while you're driving. These could lead to a valid traffic stop.
Typical reasons for a DUI charge
A Pennsylvania police officer won't usually take you to jail if you look inebriated. They'll usually want to perform a battery of tests. If you refuse the DUI tests or you're not able to do them due to intoxication, then this alone is a valid reason to take you to jail. However, if the officer doesn't try to perform these tests or performs the tests in the wrong way, he might not have a legal basis for arresting you.
Here are the tests the officer will perform:
Field sobriety tests: These tests involve you performing various tasks, which may include the eye gaze test, standing on one leg, saying the alphabet backwards, walking in a line, etc. Depending on your performance, the officer might accuse you of being intoxicated.
Alcohol breath tests and blood tests: Police may further test your state of inebriation with a Breathalyzer test to examine your blood alcohol level. A blood test may also be arranged, in some cases, by taking a sample of your blood.
Were you wrongly charged with DUI?
Being unlawfully charged with DUI after an unlawful traffic stop, or an unlawfully administered sobriety or breath test could result in your charges being thrown out in court. Be sure to understand the law and your legal rights in this regard while defending yourself against intoxicated driving allegations in court.