Police must first have probable cause or reasonable suspicion before they can initiate a traffic stop. Usually the traffic stop is going to be for some type of traffic offense such as speeding, following too closely, failure to yield…etc. In DWI cases the stop may be for other cues such as weaving or driving erratically. The question that usually follows is once I have been stopped, how long can police hold me there?
Well that depends. Police cannot detain you any longer than is reasonably necessary. The dispute usually centers around what is reasonably necessary. Generally during a traffic stop police may ask you questions, check your information, and complete a citation. In this case police may detain you for as long as it takes them to reasonably complete this task. However if police have reasonable suspicion during the stop that you may be engaged in other criminal activity they may be able to detain you longer while this is being investigated. This usually involves suspicion of DWI or drug trafficking. North Carolina law allows police to do this for a reasonable amount of time and will view the totality of the circumstances to determine if the detention was reasonable. Unfortunately there is not a clear cut answer as to what is a reasonable amount of time, it varies from case to case.
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.