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Pretext Stops – Part 2: Driving Too Slowly |

This post will discuss a frequent pretext officers assert for pulling over a car: driving too slowly. In my experience as a Pierce County criminal defense lawyer, when an officer states that he pulled my client over for driving too slowly, this is merely a pretext for searching the car for drugs or other contraband.

Driving too slowly may, in certain circumstances, warrant a DUI stop by police. For example:

  • A stop for driving too slowly may be justified when the slow-moving car creates a safety risk for other drivers on the highway.
  • A stop may be justified when the driver does not react in a timely way at a traffic signal. For example, if the driver fails to move past a flashing red light, even after the officer toots his horn, this behavior warrants a stop.

However, sometimes driving too slowly does not warrant a DUI stop. For example:

  • A stop may deemed unlawful when the driver waited only five seconds to accelerate after the traffic signal turned green.
  • Traveling 25-30-mph in a 55-mph area may not be grounds for a stop.
  • On highways without specified minimum speed limits, courts have held that officers are not justified in stopping drivers for driving too slowly.

An experienced Pierce County criminal defense lawyer can help you determine whether your traffic stop was validly based on an officer’s reasonable suspicion of unlawful conduct or was merely an unjustified pretext.