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What Is Probable Cause For A DUI Stop?

The Law Office Phillips & Allen PA Nov. 20, 2022

Before an officer can make a traffic stop, he must have “probable cause” for the stop. Probable cause normally stems from a traffic infraction. A simple crossing of the white line can result in probable cause for a traffic stop.

Even If A Motorist Is Intoxicated While Driving, Could A DUI Case be Dismissed If The Officer Did Not Have Probable Cause For The Initial Stop?

Absolutely, the officer must have probable cause prior to a traffic stop. If he does not, any evidence following the stop can be excluded in court which usually results in a not guilty verdict.

Can Law Enforcement Establish Probable Cause For A DUI Stop Even If The Officer Did Not Witness Any Actual Driving?

An officer must observe some violation of the law in order to have a legally permissible traffic stop. With a parked vehicle, an office needs some form of reasonable suspicion, which is a good faith belief that a law is being broken. An officer can approach a parked vehicle and make contact with the driver. If that contact results in further suspicion of alcohol or drugs the officer may continue his investigation. If an intoxicated person is using his car for shelter or sleep, the public policy of Maryland is to not convict a driver for making the right choice to sleep it off. If you ever do this, it is important to keep your keys out of the ignition and sleep in the passenger seat or in back.

What Is The Difference Between Reasonable Suspicion vs. Probable Cause?

Reasonable suspicion in can occur after an officer has stopped and pulled you over. Before an officer can take you out of your car to do any field sobriety tests, he must have a reasonable articulable suspicion that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Probable cause is a higher standard where an officer has facts showing that you have broken the law.

Is A DUI Probable Cause To Search A Vehicle?

Anytime a person is arrested, the arresting officer may conduct a search incident to arrest. In a DUI, this is normally limited to the passenger compartment unless the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the trunk contains further evidence of a crime.

Can You Get Pulled Over Without Probable Cause?

This happens all the time. If it happens to you, hire a good attorney who will win your case.

How Do I Find Out Whether I Was Stopped Without Probable Cause?

Your lawyer will conduct discovery, obtain police reports, videotapes and any other evidence available. The officer must state the probable cause for your stop. If there is no probable cause, your attorney should be able to win your case.

If I Was Stopped Or Arrested With No Cause, How Do I Get My DUI Case Thrown Out?

A good lawyer will convince the Prosecutor that they will lose. Most Prosecutors will dismiss a case or make a favorable plea agreement when they know there are problems with probable cause for the initial stop. If the case is not thrown out, a good Lawyer will win at trial.

If I Was Stopped Without Probable Cause, Will The DMV Still Suspend My License?

When it comes to the Maryland DMV, you do not have the constitutional protections that you have regarding your criminal case. There is no standard of probable cause. You could win your criminal case due to the officer not having probable cause and still have a license suspension by the MVA. MVA cases are generally limited to whether you were driving, whether the officer had reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence if have consumed alcohol, and what your blood alcohol test result is. If you test at .15 alcohol or refuse a test, you could be ordered to have an alcohol monitor attached to your car for one year. If you test below, .15, you are eligible to have a work permit for driving.

What Is The Standard For Probable Cause For The Actual DUI Arrest?

Failing field sobriety test is most used by officers to determine probable cause for an arrest. Usually a hand held PBT device is used by the officer to determine blood alcohol concentration. Refusing the hand held test is a right that you have. However, in my experience, when a driver refuses the test, the arrest takes place immediately.

A PBT reading of .07 or above will usually create probable cause for an arrest. When the probable cause comes only from field observations and field sobriety tests, a Lawyer has a better chance of beating probable cause which means you win your case.

For more information on Probable Cause For A DUI Stop, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking talk Arnold F. Phillips by calling today.