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Can a police officer wait for you to leave the bar?

The police understand that people who are leaving a local bar have often been consuming alcohol. Therefore, it makes logical sense that officers may try to wait outside of the bar and then pull people over as they leave. After all, a lot of people drive to the bar and then drive home, so they have a pretty good idea that some of these drivers may be over the legal limit.

But are the police allowed to do that? Can they just wait for you to get in the car and then pull you over immediately?

They still need to have a reason for the traffic stop

The police can certainly wait outside the bar if they’d like to do so. There’s no law against it. However, the thing to keep in mind is that they still need to have a reason for the traffic stop. Seeing that someone walked out of a bar is not reason enough. For all that officer knows, the person is a designated driver or was just hanging out with friends inside the bar and drinking water. They can’t assume that the person is intoxicated and they can’t stop a vehicle without a valid reason.

Of course, there are many simple reasons to stop a car. Maybe you have a tail light out. Maybe the officer says you didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Maybe you were just a few miles an hour over the speed limit. It doesn’t take much, but the officer does need to have a reason to pull you over or it is an illegal traffic stop, regardless of your sobriety.

If you are facing charges, especially if something like this has occurred, it’s time to look into all of your criminal defense options. Never assume that your case is lost before you learn more about your potential defenses.