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Can the police just wait by the local bar? 

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2022 | DUI/DWI |

The police certainly know that a lot of people drive to the bar, have a few drinks, and then drive home. There’s a reason that drunk driving increases at night and part of that reason is that people are more likely to stay out at these types of establishments.

But can the police use that knowledge to simply camp out by the local bar, watching the parking lot? When they see someone come out and get into their car, can they just pull the car over and give the person a breath test to see if they are intoxicated?

They can wait, but they also need a reason to stop your car

Legally speaking, yes, the police could just wait outside the local bar. There’s nothing preventing them from doing this. It is not entrapment or anything of that nature.

The thing to keep in mind, though, is that they still need to have a reason to stop your car. The fact that you were in the bar and that you are now in your vehicle is not enough. They need to see you do something that warrants a traffic stop, such as making an illegal lane change or breaking the speed limit.

So, an officer who is waiting outside the bar may assume that you are intoxicated, but he or she cannot actually stop you until you make a driving mistake. The police do have a lot of reasons for traffic stops, and it may be as simple as something like having a tail light out. But they can’t make a traffic stop based only on their assumption that you may have been drinking.

If you do get accused of a DUI, it’s important to know about all of your legal defense options as you face things like fines, jail time and a license suspension.