Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

Published: November 25, 2019 в 10:00 pm


a close up photo of a police car as viewed from a car's side mirror | probable cause and reasonable suspicion Many people, when they are pulled over by the police while driving, are unsure how to react, and don’t know their rights as they relate to traffic stops. Not everyone is aware that in order to pull you over, the officer must have a reason to believe that something is wrong. 

As it relates to DUI, this is known as reasonable suspicion. The officer must have reasonable cause to believe that you are in trouble, or that you have done something illegal. In some cases, reasonable cause is very easy to establish. If an officer sees a driver violate a traffic law, that is certainly reasonable cause for a stop. However, simply not liking the “look” of a driver, for example, is not a reasonable cause to stop that driver. 

The same principle applies to DUI stops. The officer must have probable cause to begin a DUI investigation. This is particularly important since a DUI or a DWAI carries both criminal penalties and administrative sanctions against your driver’s license. Learn more about probable cause and reasonable suspicion down below.

If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), contact the dedicated defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices for help right away.

Establishing Probable Cause

Reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop could be any moving violation such as speeding, weaving across lanes, running a red light and so on, but it can also be a vehicle equipment violation such as a broken tail light, expired registration, or other issues of that nature. It is important to understand that once the officer has stopped you, they need probable cause to begin a DUI investigation. Generally speaking, traffic offenses such as speeding or running a red light do not constitute probable cause for a DUI investigation.

In some cases, probable cause is easy to establish; open alcohol containers, the smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath, the smell of marijuana or other drugs in the car would all be pretty obvious signs. Other examples of probable cause might be slurred speech or signs of being easily confused or disoriented. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for a law enforcement officer to decide that someone has been drinking without a valid reason, and begin an illegal DUI investigation.

Illegal DUI Investigations 

If a police officer begins a DUI investigation without probable cause, an experienced DUI attorney should be able to have the evidence that is gathered through that illegal investigation suppressed. In many cases, they may be able to have the charges dismissed entirely, because an investigation was begun without probable cause. 

The trouble is that you, as an individual citizen without specific knowledge of the law, may not realize that the officer lacked probable cause, in which case you may not be able to protect your rights without help. That’s why it’s important to know your rights.

Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer Today

Steven Louth Law OfficesIf you have been charged with a DUI, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney right away and learn what your legal options are. Boulder DUI lawyer, Steven Louth, knows how the law works, and will fight to protect your rights. Call his law office today at 303-442-2297 or fill out the contact form on this page to schedule a free consultation. You have rights. Steven Louth will help you protect them.

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