In building a defense for your DUI case, one of the first details that your attorney will likely review is the reasoning by the police for stopping your car. Police officers do not have the right to randomly pull over drivers. A reasonable suspicion or probable cause has to exist.
What Constitutes Probable Cause?
Probable cause is basically the idea that a police officer has enough information or credible suspicion that a crime has been committed. In DUI cases, officers routinely cite the erratic driving of the accused as the reason for the stop. However, there are other actions that could lead to an officer pulling you over.
For instance, if an officer noticed you breaking a traffic law, such as running a red light, pulling you over would be considered probable cause. Once stopped, your behavior could give away the fact that you are intoxicated. Actions, such as slurring or excessive fumbling, could be signs of intoxication and if the officer notices, he or she has the right to further question whether or not you are intoxicated.
An officer could also take action if you were involved in an accident. While interviewing you and the other driver, the officer will make note of your behavior and whether or not you were impaired.
What If the Officer Did Not Have Probable Cause?
If a police officer did not have probable cause, the stop would be considered unconstitutional. In other words, the officer did not have a right to stop your car and his or her subsequent actions could be seen as illegal. As a result, any evidence that was collected by the officer would likely be considered inadmissible.
If the evidence is ruled inadmissible by the court, the prosecutor would need to present other evidence that proves your guilt. If there is none, it is likely that you will not face charges for the DUI.
Proving that the stop was illegal could be as simple as reviewing the police report about the incident. The officer's report has to include information that states why he or she suspected you were under the influence. If it is not included or the reasoning of the officer was not sound, your attorney could ask for a dismissal.
Even if the traffic stop is deemed to be lawful, there are many other ways you can fight a DUI charge. Talk to a DUI attorney like Robert A Murray about the facts of your case to explore your legal options.