Drunk driving is dangerous because it makes a person incapable of operating a vehicle safely. Over 1.8 million people are arrested for drunk driving every year in the US alone. These individuals suffer from impaired judgment due to alcohol in their blood, making them dangerous to themselves and other road users.
Good citizens will go out of their way to ensure the road environment is safe for everyone. Your actions may incline some of them to contact the authorities if they notice you driving suspiciously. They do not have any ill intent or motive against you in most cases. They are simply performing their roles as concerned citizens.
Hence, a citizen may alert the police when they notice signs of drunk driving, such as swerving and random braking. They are simply concerned for your safety and theirs, as drunk driving is dangerous and could easily cause fatal road accidents.
So, can you be stopped for a DUI based on an anonymous tip? Yes, you can. This issue has sparked debate across various circles in the US for a long time. Courts maintained that officers could not act on anonymous tips to stop drivers as some tipsters might have alternative motives.
However, in 2014, the US Supreme Court ruled that an anonymous tip can substantiate probable cause, implying that an officer can pull you over based on information received from a 911 call.
Can You Be Arrested?
First off, you should know that an anonymous tip alone is not sufficient to make an arrest. Whenever the authorities are notified of a possible case of drunk driving. The first and arguably most important step is to get all the information from the tipster. The police will keep records of the informant to contact them when the need arises.
Once the officer has enough information from the tipster, this is enough to stop you. When pulled over, the officer will begin looking for signs of intoxication, such as the following:
- Open alcohol containers in your vehicle
- Slurred and incoherent speech
- Alcohol/Marijuana smell in your vehicle
- Red face
If the officer notices you showing any of these signs, they will then administer a field sobriety or breathalyzer test to confirm the probable cause.
Next Course of Action
So, what happens when you are pulled over? First off, whatever the reason for being stopped, you should remain cooperative. If the officer is acting based on an anonymous tip and finds no evidence and your behavior indicates that you are sober, you will be free to carry on driving.
However, if the officer finds probable cause, your next course of action should be contacting your attorney, as the punishments for DUIs can be severe.
From the information presented above, it is clear that you can indeed be stopped for a DUI based on an anonymous tip. As a good citizen, you should adhere to traffic guidelines and avoid driving while intoxicated. This is because you will be endangering yourself and other road users.
Therefore, you should avoid driving yourself and get a driver or use public transport whenever you are intoxicated. Doing this will significantly lower the chances of an accident, and you will be actively engaging in promoting road safety.