When Can Police Stop Me For Suspicion of Drunk Driving?

Police encounters with a drunk driving suspect in the Columbus, Ohio area typically involve two stages prior to arrest: (a) a traffic stop, and (b) an investigative detention following the stop. With respect to the traffic stop, if the police officer observed you commit a traffic violation, then he may stop you for that violation, even if it is a pretext to investigate a drunk driving charge.

However, although the initial stop may be valid, a further detention may not be constitutionally justified. In general, the duration of the initial stop is limited to the time necessary to effectuate the purpose of the initial traffic stop, including the time necessary to run a computer check on your license, registration and plates.

The stop may not continue longer unless additional facts are encountered that give rise to reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity beyond that which caused the initial stop. It is critical for you to have an experienced defense attorney who can challenge the basis for the initial stop, the duration and scope of the detention following the stop, and whether there was probable cause for the arrest. If there was not probable cause for the arrest, then any subsequent alcohol test results are inadmissible.

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