What You Need to Know about Probable Cause
Probable Cause is one of the most misunderstood legal concepts. Today I will break down what you need to know about probable cause and how it relates to your DUI charge.
What does probable cause mean?
Probable cause is a legal standard of proof that the police had a valid reason to arrest you. The police must be able to tell a judge some actual reason for the arrest. Maybe they saw you commit a traffic offense or they smelled alcohol on you at a DUI roadblock. Once they stopped you they asked you to do some field sobriety tests. Sound familiar? All of this information: the traffic violation, odor of alcohol, and performance on field sobriety tests can be part of the officer’s probable cause for arresting you. What they can’t do is rely on a hunch.
In some cases there wan’t probable cause. In those cases, the DUI charge against you may be dismissed.
Every DUI case is different. If you were charged and arrested for DUI it is important to hire an attorney that focuses on DUI defense as soon as possible. Contact me today at (770)387-4LAW for a free consultation.
How does Probable Cause work in DUI cases?
Usually probable cause is gotten when the police ask you to exit your vehicle and perform field sobriety tests. It could also be gotten if the officer smelled an odor of marijuana in the car, finding an open bottle of pills, finding drug residue, or if a drug sniffing dog alerts to something in your car.
If you have blood shot eyes or slurred speech, they could ask you to do field sobriety tests. If you don’t perform well, they may have enough probable cause to say that you are under the influence. If you don’t agree to provide a breath sample, the state’s case becomes more difficult to prove. At that point they may attempt to get a warrant to draw your blood to test for alcohol, marijuana, or some other illegal substance.
Different substances stay in your system for different periods of time. This is where the case gets complicated. How does the state prove that marijuana or some other substance was impairing your ability to drive? You need an attorney on your side because there are many arguments that benefit you.
Contact me at (770)387-4LAW today for more information on how I can help!
Can the police search my vehicle?
No, except in a few limited situations.
An officer can ask you for permission to search your car. If you let them, whatever they find can be used against you in court. If you don’t give permission, they can’t just start going through your car. At that point they would need probable cause or if you are under arrest they can search your car. Most people don’t remember everything in their car. Therefore it is not a good idea to give the police permission to search your car.