Weaving and Probable Cause Issues
September 8, 2015
DUI (2) - probable cause
Police officers must have probable cause to pull you over for DUI.

The Fourth Amendment grants citizens the right against illegal search and seizure. How this practically applies to stops by police has given rise to a gamut of legal argumentation, and resulted in a benchmark decision that affects drivers who are pulled over for weaving as evidence of DUI.

People v. Perez (1985)

People v. Perez (1985) established a precedent for matters pertaining to weaving within lanes. Police had followed Mr. Perez for ¾ mile as he weaved as much as two feet in either direction, but remaining within his lane. This led officers to suspect that the driver was under the influence, and Perez was pulled over and subsequently arrested. On appeal it was argued that Perez was unduly searched. While his conviction was upheld, a standard for weaving as probable cause resulted from the case.

Key to the Perez case were the distance over which he was observed by law enforcement and the degree to which he was weaving within the lane. Courts have since generally held that a stop for weaving is permissible only when a substantial distance of observation occurs, and when other traffic is affected.

For a driver who happens to weave a bit in traffic, this finding is important because it offers protection under the illegal search and seizure provision of the Constitution. Often weaving is the result of another issue, such as wheel alignment or a tired driver. Absent substantial weaving over a distance, the officer does not have grounds for a DUI stop. Of course, what constitutes “substantial” distance and weaving can be a matter of interpretation. All the more reason for you to hire a Los Angeles DUI attorney.

Call the DUI Lawyers at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you have been charged with a DUI, the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available to assist you. With over 30 years of experience in handling DUI issues, we have a proven track record. Call today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a consultation.

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