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Debating the Merits of the Initial Police Stop: Was There Probable Cause?

For example, let’s start with the initial police stop. A police officer has to have a legitimate, legal reason to pull someone over. They can’t just pull people over without a valid reason. If they are pulling someone over for reasons such as a license plate light out, a cracked windshield, maybe weaving within your lane, or weaving outside your lane, then there is cause to pull you over. An officer can come up with a number of different reasons to pull someone over but that doesn’t mean that they can simply just launch into a DUI investigation.

The Police May Have Cause to Pull You Over But That Doesn’t Always Translate Into Cause to Begin a DUI Investigation

That’s an area that I’ve been focusing on for a little while now and I’ve been fairly successful in arguing that point. The issue becomes, did the officer unconstitutionally keep someone from going about his or her business? We do have the Fourth Amendment right to be free from illegal search and seizure.

An officer can pull someone over and talk to them and do an investigation, but in pulling over a vehicle, an officer constitutionally has to limit his investigation solely to the reason for the stop.

For example, if someone drove outside of the lane, that should not be an excuse for an officer to pull someone over. The first thing the officer shouldn’t say is, “Get out of the vehicle. We’re starting a DUI investigation.” There are many reasons that could cause someone to drive outside of their lane and the officer has to limit his contact with the person he’s pulled over solely for the reason for the stop.

The Police Must Have Reasonable Suspicion to Initiate a DUI Investigation

Interviewer: What is currently happening in your area? Is it that police will pull someone over and will they always say, “I can smell alcohol. Step out of the car.” Will they make up an excuse to take it to a DUI investigation? What literally happens during a stop that moves it from point A to point B?

Brian Sloan: That scenario does often occur. The officers, upon approaching a vehicle for a limited purpose such as crossing over a lane line or having a broken tail light, will then ask for a license, registration, insurance, which is fine, and then the officer will claim that they have developed new reasonable suspicion to investigate a new crime such as DUI.

This is because they noticed slurred speech on the person, because they smell the odor of alcohol coming from the person’s breath or inside their vehicle, or they notice bloodshot and water eyes. Then they are allowed to launch into a DUI investigation; however, there is a legal order to the process.

Legally, a Traffic Infraction Isn’t Probable Cause to Begin a DUI Investigation

An officer can’t just jump into a DUI investigation. The officer has to develop new reasonable suspicion above and beyond the reason for the stop. Sometimes the officer doesn’t do that. Sometimes the officer will pull someone over for a license plate light out, and the first thing they do is order the person out of the vehicle.

There’s no reason for a person to have to get out of a vehicle for a license plate light out. The officer has the option of ticketing the person or warning the person and letting them be on their way. That complies with the constitution. You limit the stop for the amount of time that is necessary to investigate the reason for the stop. If the officer ‘jumps the gun’ that can be a way in which all evidence can be suppressed against the person and basically results in a case being dismissed.

Interviewer: It’s seems like a ‘he said, she said’ type of situation. Can’t the police always just say, ‘Well, they said this, and they said that,’ and legitimize the stop? How do you defend that?

Some Arizona Police Department Are Equipped with Police Video Cameras

Brian Sloan: Unfortunately, in our system the officer is very likely going to be believed over the suspect, or the defendant. Unfortunately, not too many police agencies have video cameras. There are two exceptions. The Glendale Police Department, I believe has video cameras in all of their patrol vehicles and the ASU Police Department has video cameras in their patrol vehicles.

There was supposed to be 50 Phoenix police officers that received personal video cameras, which I believe are worn over their ear. It’s a product, I believe put out by Taser. It’s a personal video camera that goes over their ears.

By Brian Douglas Sloan

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Brian Douglas Sloan


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Why DUI Attorney Brian Douglas Sloan?


19+ Years SOLELY Focused on DUI Defense


4,200+ DUIs Successfully Defended

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  • Only DUI "Power Lawyer" in the Nation Featured in USA Today, 2022

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“I am one of only a handful of Phoenix DUI Lawyers that focuses solely on DUI Defense representation.”

I have spent my entire career SOLELY focused on Arizona DUI Defense Representation, having personally defended more than 4,400 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) clients in the past 19+ years.

If you’re looking for a Divorce Attorney, Tax Attorney, Civil Attorney, etc., I can comfortably say, "I’m not the one for you." I ONLY defend DUI cases in most of Maricopa County, Arizona.

Coming up with traditional, as well as outside-the-box motions and defenses for my clients, often with good results, is the hallmark of my practice.

Lawyers that say they are "aggressive" or "will fight for you" are a dime a dozen. They use these phrases because it is a proven advertising phrase. Being "aggressive" isn’t the same as being good, and is often used to put on a show to hide the fact that they aren’t doing anything meaningful for the client.

The same is true for the Lawyers claiming to do DUI Defense, and Criminal Cases, and Accident Cases, and Divorces, etc. A Jack-of-all-Trades is a master of none! By handling all sorts of cases, they take away from their ability to truly focus on DUIs, and keep up-to-date on the latest changes in DUI Defense Representation.

What I offer is intelligent, quality DUI Defense at an exceptional price. Unlike many other law firms, if you hire The Law Offices of Brian D. Sloan, you actually get me representing you, doing all the work, and working the case. You aren’t hiring one guy with all the experience, but getting the underling with very little knowledge or experience.

I work seven days a week on my client’s cases, and spend hours laying all my thoughts out for my clients in writing, so they can understand their options, and my recommendations. No other DUI Lawyer in the state does this. I try to do what I can to go above-and-beyond for my clients. I hate when the businesses I deal with nickel-and-dime me with hidden costs, and I take pride in not doing that to my clients.

I have not only taught other lawyers how to do DUI Defense Representation at statewide seminars, but I have produced DUI Legal Guides used by defense lawyers across Arizona.

I am one of Arizona's most award-winning DUI Defense Lawyers, as well as being recognized nationally. I was the only DUI Defense Lawyer in the United States named a "Power Lawyer" in a 2022 issue of USA Today

There are no other private Lawyers in Arizona that have personally defended more DUI cases than I have. And as a bonus, I offer a very reasonable flat rate for my legal services, with a payment plan, and without any hidden charges. This guarantees that I offer some of the most competitive rates among all Arizona DUI Attorneys, while being a well-documented and preeminent leader in the field of DUI Defense Representation.

Over the years, countless people have come to me after discovering that their first lawyer made a mistake, gave them false hope or false promises, or simply took their money and didn't do much to advance their case. And you would be surprised at how often this happens.

So, instead of wasting time and money on the wrong DUI Defense Attorney, do yourself a favor and get the proven and well-recognized best DUI Lawyer in Phoenix and the surrounding areas of Maricopa County.

You can reach me on my personal cell phone at 480-720-7839 for a Free ‘In Depth’ Consultation.

I personally defend DUI cases in urban Maricopa County City, Town, and Justice Courts, including:

Ahwatukee / Agua Fria / Arcadia Biltmore / Avondale / Buckeye / Chandler / Country Meadows / Desert Ridge / Dreamy Draw / Downtown / East Mesa / El Centro / Encanto / Gilbert / Glendale / Goodyear / Guadalupe / Highland / Kyrene / Litchfield Park / Maryvale / McDowell Mountain / Mesa / Moon Valley / North Mesa / Peoria / Phoenix / Queen Creek / San Marcos / San Tan / South Mountain / Scottsdale / Tempe / University Lakes / West McDowell / West Mesa / White Tank

For any other Courts in the State of Arizona, including Felony cases, I would recommend my associates on The Arizona DUI Team, whom I work closely with, but I am not the one personally representing the client.

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Brian Douglas Sloan

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