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When are you actually in custody?

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you have violated a traffic law, that person may instigate a traffic stop. At this point, an officer may ask you to submit to field sobriety tests to determine if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Based on the results of those tests, you may be taken into custody and transferred to a Pennsylvania jail.

Understanding probable cause

An officer generally has the right to initiate a traffic stop if that person observes a violation take place. For instance, a stop may be justified because an officer saw you run a red light or drive too fast for road conditions. However, a stop may be justified at any time if there is reason to believe that you have a suspended or revoked license or have an outstanding warrant.

What it means to be in custody

As a general rule, you are in custody the moment that an officer says that you are not free to leave. Therefore, it’s possible that you could be taken into custody on a DUI charge at some point between completing a sobriety test and being put into handcuffs. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be allowed to sit or stand in a certain area without having your hands restrained.

If you are charged with DUI, you may face a variety of penalties such as jail time, a fine or a license suspension. You may also have to attend traffic school, purchase SR-22 auto insurance or meet other guidelines before you can get your license back. Casting doubt on the legitimacy of a traffic stop that led to being taken into custody may help you get a DUI charge dropped or reduced.