DUI Defense – Challenging Probable Cause to Arrest

Last Modified: August 10, 2023

DUI Defense – Challenging Probable Cause to Arrest

In the state of California it is necessary that an arresting officer have not only probable cause for initiating the stop, but also have probable to arrest that individual. This is usually accomplished with the use of a combination of techniques. First, it is possible that the officer has actual, tangible proof that would cause them to suspect that an individual is intoxicated – such as an open container of alcohol in the vehicle or the smell of alcohol on a person’s breath. If none of these immediate signs were evident during your arrest, you’re encouraged to challenge the officer’s probable cause in the court of law with a Northern California DUI attorney here at Summit Defense.

The officer must conduct an investigation to determine whether an individual has been driving under the influence. Some of the evidence use to articulate probable cause for arrest include:

  • Driving pattern
  • Field Sobriety Tests
  • Preliminary BAC test,
  • Unsteady gait
  • Odor of Alcohol

These factors are aimed at determining whether the driver has been driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Later, when the officer testifies at the DUI hearing, they must be able to present a sufficient amount of concrete evidence to prove that they had probable cause to a) initiate the stop, b) to investigate the stop as a DUI, and c) to have made an arrest.

Do you feel that you’ve been charged with an unlawful DUI in Northern California?   Services at Summit Defense DUI Attorneys are aimed at helping you with your case. One of our many defense strategies is to challenge the arresting officer’s probable cause. Probable cause is required in the state of California for an officer to initiate a traffic stop. This means that the officer must have an objectively reasonable suspicion that the individual in question (in this case, someone who is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) is committing the crime in question at the time in question. If the officer has initiated the stop under any other pretext, then the stop is unlawful.

This is inherently tricky business for law enforcement officials, and thereby, it is important to contact a DUI lawyer right away if you’ve been charged with a DUI in Northern California representation can make all the difference. After all, how is an officer supposed determine whether a person is driving while intoxicated before they pull them over? There are signs of reckless or negligent driving patterns that can be linked to intoxication, but a sober person may exhibit these ‘symptoms’ for a number of other reasons. Certain health issues, including hypoglycemia, can cause an individual to drive erratically. Therefore, there are generally accepted indications of intoxication including red and watery eyes, a red face, and slurred speech. Despite these rules of thumb, even a well-trained officer will have difficulty determining whether or not someone is intoxicated before initiating a traffic stop. If you feel your rights were violated because an officer did not have probable cause for the stop, you need a Northern California DUI attorney with experience.

Call Summit Defense and schedule an appointment with a Northern California DUI lawyer.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is probable cause for a DUI?

Probable cause for a DUI means a set of articulated facts that would lead to a strong suspicion that a person was driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination. It is insufficient to sustain a conviction but sufficient to warrant a DUI arrest.

Is the smell of alcohol probable cause?

The smell of alcohol alone is usually insufficient to sustain a probable cause finding in a DUI case. It is, however, one of the factors that can be used (assuming other facts such as weaving, performance on Field Sobriety Tests, etc) to sustain a probable cause finding.

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