A Massachusetts police officer who observes signs of impaired driving will often initiate a traffic stop. It’s also possible that an officer will initiate a traffic stop after receiving reports of a vehicle being operated erratically. There are a number of defenses that you may be able to use if you are charged with drunk driving after your vehicle is pulled over.
There was a mechanical issue
An officer may have initiated a stop because your vehicle was swerving between lanes on the highway. However, it’s possible that your vehicle was swerving because of a blown tire or because of other issues that prevented it from driving correctly. It may also be possible to assert that a mechanical issue resulted in an inability to stop or slow down in a timely manner.
You were sick
A health issue may explain why you were slurring your words, unable to stand or otherwise showing what an officer perceived to be signs of impairment. It may also explain an elevated blood alcohol content reading as Breathalyzer results may be skewed by those experiencing acid reflux or similar maladies. A Breathalyzer result may also be skewed by items such as pasta sauce, mouthwash or aftershave.
Officer bias came into play
There must be reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed to conduct a traffic stop. This can include observing your car running past a stop sign or making a lane change without using a turn signal. However, you cannot be pulled over simply because of where you are driving or what time you decided to travel. If you suspect that you were stopped because of a subjective reason, it may be grounds to have a drunk driving charge dropped or reduced.
If you are convicted of a drunk driving charge, you may be sentenced to jail time or probation. You may also be subject to a fine or other sanctions depending on the facts of your case. However, if your claims in court are successful, it may be possible to avoid some or all potential penalties.