Police Targeting Drunk Drivers Near Bars Does Not Equal Entrapment
Police officers know the times when and places where people are most likely to commit a driving while intoxicated offense. Thus, police cars are often parked near bars and entertainment venues late at night, looking for drivers who show signs of impairment. This may seem unfair if you are one of the unfortunate people pulled over. Some defendants wonder whether this form of targeting qualifies as entrapment. However, it is rare to be able to prove that a police officer is guilty of entrapment in a DWI case. Claiming that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over is a more successful defensive strategy.
The legal definition of entrapment is when a police officer induces a defendant to commit a criminal offense which the defendant would not have otherwise committed. An officer watching for drunk drivers near a place where people have been drinking does not qualify as entrapment because the officer is not inducing the driver to:
- Drink to the point of impairment; or
- Operate a vehicle while impaired.
A case of DWI entrapment would require an officer ordering you to drive when the officer knew that you were intoxicated. This may be difficult to prove without third-party witnesses because the officer is likely to deny the accusation. The officer can claim that he or she did not know that you were intoxicated or did not tell you to drive. The court is more likely to believe the testimony of the officer than someone who may have been intoxicated at the time.
Police officers parked near bars are allowed to pull over suspected drunk drivers as long as they have a reason to believe that the driver is breaking the law. This may include:
- The suspect committing a traffic offense;
- The suspect driving in a manner that is erratic or dangerous; or
- A reliable source tipping off the police to a potential drunken driver.
An officer cannot pull you over simply because he or she saw you leaving a place that serves alcohol. When an officer performs an illegal stop, any evidence from after the stop is inadmissible in court. The exception for vehicle stops without reasonable suspicion is when police officers set up DWI checkpoints.
A police officer needs reasonable suspicion to pull you over for a potential DWI offense and probable cause to arrest you on DWI charges. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can determine whether the charges against you are unjustified. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.