DUI Probable Cause
Have you recently been arrested and charged with driving under the influence?
If so, you should contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. There are many possible defenses that can lead to your drunk-driving charge being minimized or even dropped altogether.
In order to stop a driver on suspicion of driving under the influence, the police officer must first have DUI probable cause. Probable cause means that the officer has a reasonable belief that the suspect has broken the law
. According to the Fourth Amendment, a law enforcement agent must have probable cause in order to search or seize a person and/or property.
During a DUI arrest, an officer may pull the suspect over if his or her driving is erratic or dangerous. For example, if the suspect is swerving, running stop signs, or speeding, the officer has probable cause to pull him or her over for the violation.
In order to begin a DUI investigation
after the suspect has been pulled over, the officer must again have probable cause. If the driver’s eyes are bloodshot, speech is slurred, or smells of alcohol, this may be enough probable cause to begin collecting DUI evidence.
There are three stages of the DUI case where the prosecution must prove that probable cause existed: the stop, detention, and arrest
. If the officer did not have probable cause to make the initial stop, all evidence collected (except for the officer’s observations) will be inadmissible in court. If the officer did have probable cause for the stop, but not to keep the suspect for questioning, all of the evidence will be suppressed. Finally, if there was not probable cause for an arrest, the arrest may be suppressed in court. The burden of proof lies on the prosecution in proving probable cause.
If you are facing DUI charges, hiring a DUI defense lawyer may be in your best interest.
A skilled lawyer will carefully investigate your case to determine whether or not there was probable cause for your traffic stop, detention, or arrest. If there was not probable cause, your lawyer will file a motion to ensure that any evidence obtained after one of the three events is suppressed. In most cases, this is enough to have your case thrown out.