Short Law group, P.C.
Free Consultations - Se Habla Español

When can an officer stop a driver for suspected DUI in Oregon?

In a recent blog post, this blog explained that police cannot use sobriety checkpoints in Oregon. Under the current state constitution such measures are illegal. This is the result of a 1987 constitutional amendment that outlawed the practice. However, as many Portland, Oregon residents know, you can still be stopped by police for suspicion of drunk driving. Unsuspecting motorists may wonder -- when can police officers stop drivers in Oregon for driving under the influence?

In many cases, a police officer can only stop a motorist for driving under the influence if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring. This means the officer must have some reason to pull a person over to investigate a potential DUI case. Police cannot, therefore, stop unknowing motorists who have not given any reason for the officer to think that a crime has taken place.

There are many signs that an officer could look for that would give that person a reasonable suspicion that a DUI has occurred. These could include erratic driving, illegal turns, driving down the center of the road, driving extremely slow, drifting in between lands or narrowly missing cars or other objects in the roadway. A car accident, reports of erratic driving or finding a driver asleep behind the wheel can also create a reasonable suspicion.

When an officer has reasonable suspicion that a DUI has occurred, the officer can stop the vehicle. This gives the officer the opportunity to investigate the situation. However, the officer must obtain probable cause -- a higher standard -- before an arrest can be made. A reasonable suspicion, may give the officer the right to perform blood alcohol content level testing, however. The results of those tests might give the probable cause an officer needs to arrest.

Whether an officer had a reasonable suspicion to stop a car is up to interpretation. An attorney, and not this blog post, can give specific legal advice to those facing DUI charges following a traffic stop.

Source:, "What is Reasonable Suspicion for a DUI Stop?," accessed Feb. 22, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Two Convenient Law Offices to Serve You

Contact us to learn how we can help you overcome the challenges you face. For a free consultation with Short Law Group, call our Portland or Salem offices today at 503-747-7198. If you need an evening appointment or an interview at a police station or jail following an arrest, just let us know. Se habla español.

Portland Office
12755 SW 69th Avenue
Suite 200
Portland, OR 97223

Phone: 503-747-7198
Fax: 503-747-2951
Portland Law Office Map

Salem Office
530 Center Street NE
Suite 722
Salem, OR 97301

Phone: 503-747-7198
Fax: 503-747-2951
Salem Law Office Map

Review Us