DUI & Criminal Defense

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Phoenix, AZ 85006

Traffic Stops in Arizona DUI Cases

The police must have a reason to pull over a car.  To be candid it does not have to be much of a reason, but they still must have some proof of a traffic violation or illegal activity.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees people to “be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Article II, § 8, Right to Privacy, of the Arizona Constitution reads, ”No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.” These constitutional provisions forbid stopping a person unless there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. This is because an investigatory stop of an individual is a restraint on a detainee’s freedom of movement, and therefore, constitutes a “seizure.” 

Traffic Stop Law Relevant DUI Cases

  • The Fourth Amendment applies to brief investigatory stops. United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 878 (1975).
  • The temporary detention of individuals during a traffic stop is a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 809–810, 116 S.Ct. 1769, 135 L.Ed.2d 89 (1996).
  • Reasonable suspicion is “specific, articulable facts which, together with objective and reasonable inferences, form the bases for suspecting that the particular person detained is engaged in criminal activity.”
    United States v. Lopez–Soto, 205 F.3d 1101, 1105 (9th Cir.2000).
  • Reasonable suspicion is based on the totality of the circumstances. United States v. Montero–Camargo, 208 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir.2000) (en banc ).
  • An officer evaluating whether reasonable suspicion is present is entitled to draw on his or her “own experience and specialized training to make inferences from and deductions about the cumulative information available.”
    United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, 273, 122 S.Ct. 744, 151 L.Ed.2d 740 (2002).
  • Because a traffic stop for a suspected violation of law is a seizure of the occupants of the vehicle, it “must be conducted in accordance with the Fourth Amendment.” Heien v. North Carolina, 574 U.S. ––––, 135 S.Ct. 530, 536, 190 L.Ed.2d 475 (2014).

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