The police are allowed to stop you when you are driving, but only in certain circumstances. The first is at a sobriety checkpoint.
These are allowed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but the police must follow strict guidelines when using them. If an officer fails to adhere to procedures, a court may invalidate the stop and arrest and dismiss the charges against you.
The second reason to stop you is if the officers have reasonable suspicion that you are breaking the law, about to break it, or have already broken it. Here are some ways they could ascertain that:
- Information about you or your vehicle: Alerts are often sent out to officers when a crime is committed. If your car matches the description of the one they are looking for, they would be entitled to stop you.
- How you are driving: Chicaning through the traffic at speed, being aggressive toward another driver or jumping a red light would all be a valid reason to stop you.
- Signs you are drinking: If they see you take a slug from a whisky bottle, it is in the public’s interest that they stop you.
- Signs you are taking drugs: Clouds of smoke coming out the window would typically justify the police saying they thought you were smoking marijuana while driving.
- Signs of violence: If you drive along waving a gun out the window, expect to get pulled over. Things like fresh blood on your bonnet would probably also stand up in court.
- Something wrong with the car: Your car needs to meet specific standards when on the road. Things like blown bulbs or a fender dragging along the ground would all be reasons to stop you.
Getting legal help to understand more about legitimate stop procedures will be crucial if you are arrested and charged with drunk driving.