Many states have tried different methods to combat against driving under the influence (DUI) because it has been found to be so dangerous. One strategy has been the creation of "DUI Tip Lines" or "Crime Stoppers" tip lines. Police departments all across the country have call-in voice mailboxes, where a citizen can leave an anonymous tip about someone they believe is driving drunk. The police then have the ability to take various approaches, and some have chosen to seek the potential drunk driver out and arrest them before they can do any harm. The first step in this process is making an investigative traffic stop to see if the suspected drunk driver is going to be charged with a DUI.
Because DUI tips generally come from a citizen, and not a law enforcement officer, there are two competing interests involved: keeping other motorists safe versus protecting personal security from government invasion. That is why most states require a police officer to have a "reasonable suspicion" sufficient to justify an investigative traffic stop. Reasonable suspicion generally requires less facts and circumstances to justify an investigative traffic stop than probable cause.
In order for a police officer to form reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify an investigative traffic stop based on a citizen's anonymous DUI tip, two things must exist:
It is not exactly clear what is sufficiently precise and sufficiently dangerous activity. Past cases have held a police investigative traffic stop to be justified when an anonymous citizen called the police, gave the general make and model of the vehicle in question, and its location, in connection with one of the following activities:
Police officers do not have reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify an investigative traffic stop based on a citizen's anonymous DUI tip if that suspicion is founded upon:
If you have been charged with a DUI, and the information the police relied upon to make their investigative traffic stop was a DUI tip, it is strongly recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney. Only an attorney will be able to explain the issues and help in any successful defense.
Last Modified: 11-04-2013 04:51 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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