Reasonable Suspicion - PA DUI Law
Reasonable Suspicion is necessary when a Police Officer stops you for possible DUI.
An officer may stop your vehicle if there is Reasonable Suspicion of DUI. But, what qualifies as Reasonable Suspicion?
A vehicle stop in Pennsylvania is considered a seizure. Therefore, a vehicle stop must withstand constitutional scrutiny against unreasonable searches and seizures as set forth in the 4th Amendment. Unreasonable searches and seizures are prohibited by both the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Because of this prohibition, an officer must support his vehicle stop by showing reasonable suspicion that a violation of the law has occurred or is occurring. There are four ways an officer may show reasonable suspicion:
- Dangerous Driving - This involves more than mere erratic driving. The driving must support a belief that the Vehicle Code has been violated.
- Equipment Violations or Expired Registration - this includes broken taillights, registration problems, or burnt out headlights. However, a stop cannot be initiated simply because you are not wearing your seat belt.
- Stops based on
Third-Party Information - When officers stop your
vehicle based on information provided by someone else
(someone calls the police and reports your erratic
driving) the Court will look at the reliability of the
- specific details given to police
- how the information was conveyed
- the extent to which the police relied on the information
- the identification of the source and the history of the source’s prior contact with police
- how the source learned the information
A mere report to police about suspicious driving is not enough to support a stop.
- The Vehicle is Already Stopped - this primarily includes sleeping motorists and vehicles pulled off the side of the road.
If the officer stopped your vehicle and permitted you to leave the scene, any attempt to conduct further investigation (asking additional questions as you are about to leave) must be supported by an entirely new basis for reasonable suspicion.
At Morrow & Artim, we offer a no cost, no obligation review of your DUI or criminal law matter via a short telephone consult or an email reply. If both you and our firm agree that legal representation is required, an in-office appointment will be scheduled.Call Morrow & Artim today at 412-823-8003 to obtain the legal help that you deserve.