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Vehicle Stops in Mississippi

A police officer must have probable cause to stop a car.   Probable cause means that a reasonable person would believe that a crime or some wrongdoing was being committed.  If the police officer does not have probable cause for stopping a car, the stop is illegal and any evidence found as a result of that stop cannot be presented at court.  However, a vehicle stop for any reason, even one not related to DUI, such as a tail light out, can lead to an arrest for DUI.  As long as the vehicle stop is legal, meaning that as long as the police officer has probable cause that any traffic violation was being committed, the police officer can detain the driver for a DUI investigation.   Police officers are trained to look for certain signs that a driver might be DUI, these are: (1) problems staying in one’s lane, (2) speeding or braking for no apparent reason or in a jerky manner, (3) failure to follow traffic signals or use headlights or turn signals properly, and (4) unsafe or illegal lane changes or turns.   In addition to needing to have probable cause to stop the car, the police officer also needs probable cause of DUI to arrest the driver.   Probable cause to arrest a driver for DUI is generally established through standard field sobriety tests.

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