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Stopping a North Carolina driver for suspected DWI

When making a traffic stop for suspected DWI, police must have valid grounds to do so. They cannot stop a driver simply because they want to, but rather, there must be certain things that give a law enforcement officer reasonable suspicion of drunk driving. Without reasonable suspicion, a traffic stop may be invalid.

With reasonable suspicion, an officer can pull a driver over, and the officer can then determine if sobriety tests or a chemical test are necessary. If you are facing DWI charges and you believe that your initial traffic stop was invalid, you have grounds to fight back. You can challenge violations of your rights and any evidence against you gathered as a result of an illegal stop.

What counts as a reasonable suspicion?

There are certain types of behaviors that officers associate with potential drunk driving. When they notice a driver exhibiting some of these things, they may stop him or her and do a limited investigation. Some of the things that may give a law enforcement officer reasonable suspicion of drunk driving include:

  • Swerving
  • Having difficulty staying inside lanes
  • Driving at erratic speeds
  • Driving very slowly for no reason
  • Almost hitting parked cars and other stationary objects
  • Braking often for no reason
  • Stopping in the middle of the road

These are not the only reasons why a police officer can stop a driver. In fact, law enforcement professionals have a significant amount of leeway when deciding whether or not the actions of a driver merit a traffic stop.

Even if there was reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop, it does not necessarily mean that there will be probable cause for an arrest. It is smart to seek an evaluation of your case in order to determine if you experienced a violation of your rights or whether you have grounds to challenge the traffic stop that led to your DWI arrest.

Your best defense starts now 

When facing drunk driving charges, your future and your freedom are at stake. Whether it's your first offense or you have other DWIs on your record, you will want to work diligently to prepare and present a strong defense strategy. 

You can learn more about how you can fight back and what you can do to protect your interests in a complete assessment of your case. You will find it beneficial to seek the guidance of an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest.

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The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C.
3965 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28403

Toll Free: 877-231-9829
Phone: 910-338-5559
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North Carolina Bar Association | Seeking Liberty &; Justice | NHCBA | NEW HanOver County Bar Association, Inc. | P.O. Box 2180, Wilmington, NC 28402
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