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In North Carolina an objective standard is used when deciding if probable cause or reasonable suspicion existed to execute a traffic stop. The court will consider many factors in each case to determine if the actions of the police were reasonable. The question often arises regarding the intent of the police officer who executed the stop, such as what if he stopped for a small equipment violation but he really stopped me because he thought I had drugs in my car?
The simple answer it is it does not matter what the officer’s subjective motivation is when stopping a vehicle. Even if the officer does not issue a citation as long as he or she had reasonable suspicion or probable cause to initiate the stop it is considered a good stop. If the officer has reasonable suspicion or probable cause to initiate the stop he may then continue to detain you at the stop beyond the initial reason for the stop only if he has further articulable reasonable suspicion that other criminal activity is going on. What is considered to be a reasonable detention beyond the scope of the initial stop will vary from case to case depending on the facts.
If you should find yourself in a situation where you have been charged with a DWI you need to contact an attorney who has the experience and knowledge necessary to handle your case with the care it deserves. We defend DWIs and DUIs in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Pineville, Cornelius, Huntersville, Lake Norman, Pineville, Matthews, Mint Hill, and UNCC. For a private, confidential consultation with one of our experienced DWI lawyers, please call 704-499-9000 or toll-free 877-374-5999 even on weekends or holidays.