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New York DWI/DWAI Probable Cause to Stop and Search

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizures. This means that a police officer cannot stop you or search your property unless he or she has a valid reason, known as “probable cause.” If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or grugs, it is important that you retain an experienced DWI/DWAI attorney to properly investigate the validilty of the officer's probable cause and determine whether your Constitutional rights were violated. 

Probable cause is defined as a reasonable belief that someone has committed a crime. The officer must observe signs that a crime is taking place before he or she can stop or search a vehicle. For example, if the officer notices a driver committing a traffic violation, such as speeding, failing to use a signal, driving erratically, or running a traffic light, he or she has probable cause to make a traffic stop.

During the traffic stop, the officer must have probable cause to believe you are impaired before he or she can ask you to perform field sobriety tests or take a breathalyzer test. The officer may look for signs of intoxication such as the odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. Once the officer establishes probable cause, he or she may begin a DWI investigation. If you fail the field sobriety tests, or the breathalyzer test shows that you are over the legal limit, you may be charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

At Astarita & Associates we have vast experience at challenging the constitutionality of a police officer's stop and arrest.  If an officer does not have probable cause to pull you over or to begin a DWI investigation, the evidence obtained during this time may be inadmissible in court. This means that your DWI charges could be dismissed completely. As former proseutors with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office we are particularly familiar with the prosecutorial process and can anticipate the prosecutor's strategies.  As DWI/DWAI defense attorneys we know what to look for in cases like this to determine if the officer had the proper probable cause to stop and arrest you and whether your rights have been violated.