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Vehicle Stops in Missouri

A law enforcement officer can stop a vehicle in the state when they have reasonable grounds to believe that a motorist was driving or in operation of a motor vehicle in a drugged or intoxicated condition.   Reasonable grounds means that a law enforcement officer must have a reasonable belief (that the driver was operating the vehicle and at the same time either drugged or intoxicated.)  A law enforcement officer may legally stop a motor vehicle when he has a probable cause that the driver has committed a traffic violation.  A probable cause for a traffic violation, such as speeding, means that the officer must have witnessed the violation.  An officer can also legally stop or detain a motor vehicle during sobriety or traffic checkpoints or roadblocks.  An officer can also stop a vehicle when he has a reasonable suspicion that the motorist is committing or about to commit a crime.  Reasonable suspicion means that the officer must have a strong suspicion based on the facts and circumstances that a crime is about to happen. 

A lack of reasonable grounds, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion in any of the stops required above would be considered an unlawful stop.  In an unlawful stop, the arrest for a DWI/BAC would not be upheld.


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