A DUI arrest doesn’t always mean that the police know you are intoxicated from the beginning. It may not happen after an accident, for instance, when they find you sitting in your ruined car and smelling like alcohol. It could happen after a simple traffic stop for a completely different reason.
It could be as basic as breaking the speed limit. Maybe you were going a bit too fast because you did not realize that the speed limit dropped down to 45 miles per hour. The police can pull you over for anything over the legal limit. If they then believe you were intoxicated — perhaps leading to your speeding — that’s when the nature of the stop changes, and they may start to question you.
In some cases, they may even be able to search your car. They can do so if you give consent, if they think something illegal is concealed in the car — like an open container — and therefore, have reasonable suspicion or if they get a search warrant. Keep in mind that you don’t have to give consent under any circumstances, but it may not matter if they think you were actively drinking in the car, and they’re looking for the container as proof.
The thing to remember is that you can get stopped for many minor reasons, from having a broken taillight to rolling through a stop sign instead of stopping completely. Things can then escalate from that point. This is how many DUI stops go, and you need to consider the entirety of the stop and how it played out as you look into all of the legal defense options that you have.