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Vehicle Stops for DUI in Tennessee

In Tennessee, the police must have a legal justification for pulling you over. This means the police must have reasonable cause to believe that a criminal offense has or will occur. In terms of a DUI the police usually pull someone over because he/she has observed a traffic violation: speeding, running a stop sign etc. In these circumstances the police can claim they had reasonable cause to pull the suspect over, and upon that traffic stop, determined the driver was driving under the influence.

Law enforcement can also occasionally set up DUI checkpoints in an attempt to catch drunk drivers. These checkpoints consist of roadblocks at busy areas and motorists are randomly selected for screening.

Further, although a police officer is generally not entitled to search your car during a traffic stop, if the officer sees something in plain view, the officer is allowed to investigate it: this applies to DUI’s in the instance of open alcohol containers, drugs etc.  Also, if you or any passenger in your vehicle is arrested, the police may inspect your vehicle and its contents without any need for reasonable suspicion. So, it is important to keep this in mind in regards to your DUI traffic stop.

However, the police must have probable cause or suspicion of wrongdoing to conduct a traffic stop. If the police officer has no probable cause, this is not a lawful stop and this is one way to challenge a DUI offense.


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