For expert criminal defense and legal counsel, the people of Phoenix know that they can rely on The Law Office of James Novak. Using our legal experience and years of know-how, we will help ensure fair hearings and that the legal system works fairly.
This commitment to fairness and proper legal process is extremely important when it comes to drunk driving cases and crafting strong DUI defense strategies. In a number of cases, the DUI charge comes down to questions of probable cause.
What Is Probable Cause?
Probable cause is an important part of many traffic stops, whether they involve drunk driving or any other sort of need to pullover a driver. In essence, probable cause refers to a reasonable belief that the driver in the vehicle or passengers in the vehicle have engaged in illegal activity of some kind that then warrant arrest.
Examples of Probable Cause
One example of probable cause is if a driver, upon being pulled over, demonstrates slurred speech, fails a field sobriety test, and also has a BAC over the legal limit with results obtained through a breath test. In this situation, there is a probably cause to arrest the driver since it appears from this evidence that the driver is driving while drunk.
If an officer does not have probable cause for arrest, your DUI arrest is unjust and the officer may have violated your Constitutional protections.
What Is Reasonable Suspicion?
There's another threshold that needs to be considered when it comes to traffic stops. That consideration is known as reasonable suspicion. In the the context of DUI cases, reasonable suspicion means that an officer must have a valid reason to think that the driver of a vehicle is intoxicated.
Examples of Reasonable Suspicion
An example of this is if a driver is being reckless, speeding, runs a traffic signal or sign, or demonstrates other kinds of dangerous behaviors. It is then reasonable for a police officer to pull over the driver.
Keep in mind that if a driver is abiding by all traffic laws and has demonstrated no reason to be pulled over, the officer may have lacked reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop and may have violated the driver's Constitutional rights and protections.
How Are Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause Related?
Putting it together, an officer needs reasonable suspicion to pull you over, and then needs probable cause to make an arrest. When reasonable suspicion and/or probably cause are absent during a traffic stop, that can be used as a form of DUI defense. In fact, this covers a number of cases in which a driver demonstrated no need to be pulled over in the first place (not even a seat belt violation or an issue with brake lights) or any reason to be arrested.
How a Drunk Driving Attorney Can Help You
Fighting and contesting an unjust drunk driving arrest can be complicated and time consuming. When you work with a skilled DUI defense attorney, the bigger legal questions and procedures will be your defense attorney's concern. We will fight diligently on your behalf to make sure the system works right for everyone and that you are given a fair shake from the law.
Contact The Law Office of James Novak
To learn more about your legal options following a drunk driving arrest, it's of the utmost importance that you contact a skilled DUI defense attorney today. The team at The Law Office of James Novak will fight diligently for you in your time of legal need.