Many of us have heard the term “probable cause” on popular shows and in films but may not have a sense of what it means. However, if you have been arrested for a DUI in Nevada, understanding what constitutes probable cause within this context is critical.
In order for a police officer to pull you over he or she has to have “reasonable suspicion” that a law is being broken or crime is taking place. The officer does not have to suspect that you are driving under the influence to ask you to pull over. For instance, you could have a broken taillight or expired tag, and that would be a valid reason to stop you. In many cases, the police officer may be stopping you because you were swerving or driving erratically. Whatever the case may be, as long as there is a reasonable basis, stopping you can be legal. However, reasonable suspicion is not required at a sobriety checkpoint.
In order to arrest you for drunk or drugged driving, the officer has to have “probable cause” to believe that you have been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To reach this threshold, the officer can ask the driver to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test or even a field sobriety evaluation. If your tests are indicative of having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, they can be used to justify the officer’s conclusions.
The officer’s observations of the driver will also come into play. For example, when an investigating officer encounters a driver who smells strongly or alcohol, has slurred speech, or is incapable of holding a lucid conversation, these facts can help support probable cause for arrest. Additionally, the answers you provide in response to questions about whether you have been drinking or have used drugs can also be used to support probable cause.
Once the officer is done investigating and gathering evidence to support probable cause he or she may feel there is enough to support arresting you for driving under the influence. After your arrest, there are several ways to challenge the evidence in a manner which could disprove probable cause. To properly evaluate the circumstances of your arrest and prepare your defense, you need the advocacy and expertise of an experienced DUI attorney.
A DUI conviction can impact you for the rest of your life. You need counsel at your side to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. At the Law Office of Darren Weiss, we have experience challenging DUI arrest and probable cause evidence. We are here to fight for you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.