The Maryland State police recently celebrated a State Trooper for breaking a statewide record for arrests of suspected impaired drivers. The standing record involved arresting more than 100 people per year on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) for three years straight. Reports indicate that the new record-holder has arrested an average or 120 to 140 people for DUI for four years in a row.
In 2013, the State Police started an Impaired Driving Reduction Effort, which has arrested over 2,500 people for DUI stemming from over 7,600 traffic stops. The state celebrates such efforts as reducing the harm caused by drunk drivers across the state. While reducing the dangers of impaired driving is important, departments focused on catching drunk drivers can often violate the rights of citizens during their endeavors.
Unlawful Traffic Stops
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure by the police. A traffic stop can be considered a seizure for the purposes of the law and, therefore, police may not simply stop drivers on a whim or whenever they want. Instead, a police officer must have an articulable reasonable suspicion that a driver committed a crime in order to pull them over. This can be something as small as not using a blinker but some type of reasonable suspicion of a violation must exist for a traffic stop to be legal.
Often, when a task force is dedicated to catching drunk drivers, they can—intentionally or unintentionally—stretch the limits of a lawful stop. For example, imagine a police officer is on the side of the road waiting by a popular strip of restaurants and bars. A car drives by and the officer believes that a driver swerved and assumes the driver had been drinking. In reality, the driver may have looked away for one moment and then corrected their position in their lane and the officer’s imagination exaggerated the movement. No violation occurred and merely correcting a position should not be reasonable suspicion of a crime.
If an officer pulls you over and arrests you on suspicion of DUI, it is essential to have a defense attorney who will closely examine all of the circumstances involving your traffic stop or arrest. If a traffic stop was illegal, our lawyers can argue that everything arising from that unlawful stop should be kept out of evidence because it was in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.
Contact a Maryland DUI Defense Attorney for Help Today
Proving that a traffic stop or an arrest was unlawful is only one of many ways to defend against DUI charges in Maryland. The penalties for a DUI conviction can be serious and can affect many different aspects of your life. It is critical to have a defense lawyer who can explore every possible option to defend against your charges and to reduce the penalties you face. If you have been arrested for DUI, you should not wait any longer to discuss your situation with a DUI defense lawyer at Alpert & Schreyer, LLC. Call (866) 444-6363 or contact us online today.