Perhaps you make a living driving a truck. However, you were in your personal vehicle when law enforcement stopped you for failing to signal when changing lanes.
The officer really wanted to determine whether you had been drinking. A charge of DUI would put your commercial license at risk, but was this an illegal pretextual traffic stop?
Understand pretextual stops
If a law enforcement officer pulls you over on the pretext of a minor traffic infraction but arrests you for another reason altogether, you could have a pretextual traffic stop claim. The officer may have suspected that you were driving drunk but only gave the lane-changing excuse for stopping you.
Take a look at consequences
This may be your first experience with an arrest, but if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, you could lose your commercial license for up to a year, and you do not qualify for an occupational limited license. You have a family to support and you have been a driver for the same company for many years. A conviction for drunk driving could end your career and cause considerable hardship for your family.
Challenge the stop
Law enforcement can pull a driver over for any number of infractions, from a dirty license place to a broken taillight. The problem arises when the reason an officer gives for a traffic stop is not the real reason for detaining you.
In addition to the drunk driving possibility, issues such as age, race and desire for vehicle search can also fall under the heading of a pretextual stop. Remember that this kind of traffic stop is not legal. If a law enforcement officer accuses you of failing to signal a lane change, then arrests you on suspicion of DUI, you can challenge your arrest. For one thing, your clean driving record is at risk, but more importantly, so is your job as a commercial driver and the welfare of your family.