I have handled numerous DUI cases in Montgomery County, surrounding counties, and on Fort Campbell military base in which the reason for the stop of the vehicle by the officer is unknown to the Defendant, now charged with DUI, or is what a defense attorney would call a pre-textual stop (meaning a stop on the pretext or for the stated reason that an offense or crime occurred which was the basis for the stop when no such offense or crime in fact occurred). The important point to remember is that when an officer stops your vehicle without reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do so, any evidence obtained as a result ofthe stop is excluded by the 4thAmendment of the United States Constitution.

Tennessee Courts have held that “neither drifting within a lane nor merely touching a dividing lane is sufficient basis to stop a vehicle.’’ The Supreme Court of Tennessee has concluded that “if failure to follow a perfect vector down the highway was sufficient reason to suspect a person of driving while impaired, a substantial portion of the public would be subject each day to an invasion of their privacy.”

The former Tennessee Titan’s quarterback, Steve McNair, was charged with a DUI in Nashville, Tennesseeand hadthe case against him dismissed in July of 2004 because of the prosecution’s failure to meet the requirement of the 4th Amendment that law enforcement have reasonable suspicion to initiate a stop of a person suspected of a crime.
The videotape of the Defendant driving his Lincoln Navigator showed:
(1) his left tires touching the yellow line and riding on the line for approximately 4 seconds
(2) showed his left tires touching the yellow line immediately before and where there is a center “turn lane” marked with diagonal yellow lines indicating it is no longer a turn lane for approximately 6 seconds and lastly
(3) his left tires touching the yellow line for approximately 3 seconds.

Although the Defendant submitted to a test indicating a breath alcohol content (BAC) of 0.18% at the time of his arrest, the case was dismissed becausethe evidence against him was excludedafter the Court concluded that the Defendant’s driving over a two block period did not provide "specific and articulable facts", i.e. reasonable suspicion, that the Defendant was driving under the influence. As a result of the illegal stop, all evidence against the Defendant was excluded.

The 4th Amendment protectsus from intrusion into the privacy of our lives by unwarranted governmental searches, and mandates that if searches are deemed unwarranted, as in the case against Steve McNair,then the evidence obtained shall beexcluded.

So How Does Everyone Feel About This?

I'll start with my opinion, whichis that without strict adherence to the principles of the 4th Amendment and the exclusion of illegally seized evidence, we wouldopen the door to a police state where personal freedoms and fundamental rights were disregarded and abused. I believe in and fight for a system in which basic fundamental freedoms guaranteed us in our Constitution arehonoredand given full effect.

If You Have Questions Please Feel Free To Contact Our Office.
Ryan K McFarland • attorneymcfarland@gmail.com1 (​931) 516-9009

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