Probable Cause and DUIs: Things to Know

Some states refer drunk driving as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), others refer to it as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and a small number of states called it Operating Under the Influence (OUI).

This criminal offense generally includes either driving under the influence of alcohol to the extent it impairs your physical and mental abilities, or driving while you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater regardless of whether the alcohol has had any effect on you.

Such crimes are considered to be among the most serious of driving offenses—not surprisingly, as they cause over one third of all traffic fatalities.

There are essentially three types of drunken driving laws:

  • Driving under the influence:  Every one of the 50 U.S. states makes a DUI or DWI a crime.  DWIs and DUIs are usually defined as driving while impaired by alcohol or other legal or illegal substances.
  • BAC of .08% or higher: In most states, if not all, it is also a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether one’s driving was actually impaired or affected.
  • Felony DUI: Certain cases of DUIs can be charged as a felony offense, a severe offense that could bring about a jail sentence.

Probable Cause and DUI/DWI: 5 Things to Know

In order to pull you over, a police officer is required to have “probable cause” that you’ve violated the law. Here are five things to know about probable cause and DUIs (driving under the influence):

  1. An officer needs probable cause to pull you over. Probable cause simply means that enough reliable information exists to support a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime—in this case, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. For instance, cops watched you driving as though intoxicated—that is, the cop saw you swerving over the street, driving irregularly or maybe watched some other petty criminal offense.
  2. A casualty or impairment can be appropriate feasible reason. Ideally, the officer didn’t come upon you after a mishap or after you made some type of loss yourself or others. Proof of such actions is frequently the statement to a conclusion that reasonable excuse exists for custody.
  3. In the event that the police charge you without reasonable cause, you can fight it. The cop must have to probable cause to arrest you. In one’s case, they can bring a indication to suppress, which can result in the entire case being thrown out. Be careful—when it’s your assertion against the officer’s—such claims normally don’t succeed, especially in DUI cases
  4. Bad behavior adds to probable cause. Probable cause is generated by the police officer’s initial observations of your driving performance. However, remember that after you have been pulled over, the officer will keep on observing, maybe assembling presumable cause for extra transgression.
  5. Probable cause doesn’t justify pretext stops. Even though police officers can pull you over for basic traffic offenses, police officers can’t use traffic stops as a “pretext” to launch investigations.

If you’re unsure if this applies to you or are charged, contact Dominic Saraceno for your DUI-DWI legal consult.