Generally, an officer cannot pull you over without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. A stop based on probable cause requires the officer to articulate specific facts to support that a traffic violation has occurred, the reason for which the vehicle was stopped. A stop based upon reasonable suspicion is only permitted if there is an investigative goal for the stop, i.e., where the officer believes that a stop will provide additional information related to criminal activity (usually a DUI).
For example, a stop founded on the belief that an individual is driving under the influence need only be supported by reasonable suspicion since further investigation is required to determine whether a crime was committed. Alternatively, a stop founded on failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk must be supported by probable cause because there is nothing more to investigate.
Remember, a minor traffic violation is a permissible reason for police to stop you. In Pennsylvania, traveling at any speed in excess of the maximum limit would be a violation of the law. A violation of the speed limit, regardless of how trivial, would give an officer a valid reason to pull you over.
After the stop, the police officer may then begin to gather more information resulting in an arrest for driving under the influence. This moment is when they ask you to walk a line or count backwards. These additional tests are the officer's way of investigating an additional crime.
For additional information or assistance on your case, call our firm today.
By: Corey A. Bauer, Esq & Eric Scott Wyant II, Esq.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.