Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.
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Working Hard to Protect Your Rights As a Poughkeepsie criminal defense attorney, I have been serving the people of the Hudson Valley for more than 20 years through diligent, assertive and quality criminal defense. I am prepared to put my experience to work for you.

DWI charges and reasonable suspicion

In order to protect the Constitutional and civil rights of everyday citizens, the criminal justice system includes certain provisions and checks and balances that limit the power of governmental entities. When discussing criminal cases involving allegations of drunk driving, one of the first things that an attorney will investigate is whether or not a traffic stop was legal.

With the exception of DUI checkpoints, police officers are not allowed to arbitrarily pull drivers over. Rather, an officer must have what's referred to as reasonable suspicion to believe that an individual might have committed a crime. With regard to DUI cases, reasonable suspicion may include the following questionable driving behaviors.

  • Driving extremely slow or erratically
  • Drifting across the center lane or onto the shoulder
  • Making an illegal turn
  • Unnecessary stopping or braking

If, after witnessing driving behaviors that warrant reasonable suspicion that a driver may be impaired, a police officer may stop a driver and request that he or she submits to a series of field sobriety tests. Depending on a driver's performance on these tests, a police officer may also request that a driver submit to a Breathalyzer test. At this time, a driver can either choose to take the test or refuse. If an individual opts for the latter, he or she will be subject to penalties including the revocation of one's driver's license.

In the case where an individual submits to a Breathalyzer and registers a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher, this evidence is considered probable cause for a police officer to arrest and charge a driver with the appropriate DWI-related charges.

In cases where a police officer fails to document or prove that he or she had reasonable suspicion to stop a motorist, regardless of the results of a subsequent Breathalyzer or other BAC test, a defense attorney will seek to have all charges dropped and the case dismissed.

Source:, "What is Reasonable Suspicion for a DUI Stop?," Aug. 27, 2015

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