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5 Things to Know about Probable Cause in DUIs

When it comes to getting pulled over by a police officer, knowing what to do and what your rights are before it happens can help you ensure that you are protecting yourself. Not all officers operate lawfully or will respect your rights, so understanding the rules regarding probable cause can help you determine whether or not you are being taken advantage of.

Our Ventura DUI defense attorney shares five things you should know about probable cause:

1.An officer needs probable cause to pull you over.

Probable cause just means that the officer had reason enough to believe that you were drunk driving. This rule is put in place to protect citizens from random searches and to keep officers from systematically stopping cars (i.e. every twentieth car that passes gets pulled over).

2.Without probable cause, you can fight your arrest.

Pulling a driver without probable cause is unlawful. Without it, you can bring a motion to suppress, which could equate to your case being completely thrown out. Fighting this isn’t always easy to do since the court system usually takes the police officer’s word or side. That is why it is essential to recruit the representation of a dedicated DUI attorney.

3.Injuries or accidents can be considered probable cause.

DUI arrests don’t just happen after being pulled over. If you have been drinking and driving, which then resulted in an accident, an officer can use the accident as probable cause and arrest you. Because of this, accidents, injuries, and property damage can all be used as evidence later.

4.Bad behavior can also be considered probable cause.

If you are acting rudely or defiantly, more times than not the situation will escalate. That is why it is in your best interest to cooperate and answer the police officer’s questions politely. Bad behavior is often considered “suspicious behavior.”

5.Pretext stops are not justified by probable cause.

Even if the officer has reasonable cause to pull you over, that does not mean they have the “pretext” to launch an investigation. For example, if an officer pulls you over for some swerving, he or she cannot start searching your trunk for weapons. Probable cause needs to align with the response.

Contact The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers today and speak with our dedicated Ventura DUI defense lawyer.