Most drunk driving arrests begin with an officer who sees a person driving in some abnormal way and, as a result, pulls them over. If that leads to some sort of confirmation that the individual in question is intoxicated, an arrest is made. However, if the initial reason that the person was pulled over is invalid, the entire arrest can be thrown out. This begs the question: In Indiana, when can a police officer pull a driver over?
When is the act of being pulled over legitimate?
When it comes to DUI, the reason that an officer pulls a driver over is the linchpin of an arrest. The Supreme Court has ruled that an officer must have reasonable suspicion that an individual is driving intoxicated in some way. This means that the driver must be driving erratically or doing something that implies a violation of the rules of the road. A police officer is allowed to pull someone over briefly, in what is known as a “Terry stop,” if they have observed the person doing something wrong. However, if the officer observes additional potential illegalities and develops a reasonable suspicion, they may investigate further.
What does this mean for someone pulled over?
It’s important for a person to ensure that they know why they were pulled over. Even if a person who was arrested was driving under the influence, the arrest is invalid if the reason for the stop is considered illegal. The case might be thrown out of court.
Police officers have very set procedures that they must follow in order to detain drivers. Failure to do so could mean that an arrest is invalid.