In light of our last blog on probable cause for DUI stops, now is a good time to also discuss probable cause for DUI arrests. As previously noted, probable cause refers to the “reasonable grounds” necessary for law enforcement officials to take some action. When it comes to making a drunk driving arrest, the probable cause generally arises out of the statements and/or actions a motorist says/takes during the DUI stop.
Below, we’ll continue pointing out what you should know about probable cause for DUI arrests.
What Serves as Probable Cause for a Drunk Driving Arrest?
Once a traffic cop pulls a motorist over for a suspected DUI, the officer will typically ask the motorist for his license, registration and insurance documents. The interaction the officer has with the driver at this point – and moving forward – can provide “evidence” of possible impairment, such as a driver allegedly:
- Slurring his speech
- Smelling of alcohol
- Having red, watery eyes
- Having a ruddy complexion
- Having problems understanding, communicating with and/or responding to the officer.
Should drivers display any of these behaviors, officers may request that they undergo field sobriety testing, such as the horizontal gaze nystragmus, the one-leg stand and/or the walk-and-turn test. During this testing, cops will look for further “evidence” of impairment, which can include (but may not be limited to) an inability to balance or coordinate actions and/or a failure to follow the test directions.
Failing or performing poorly on field sobriety testing can lead officers to request that drivers undergo a breath or blood test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC).
While the results of BAC testing can serve as probable cause to make a DUI arrest, so too can:
- The refusal to submit to BAC testing – In fact, DUI cases are the only criminal case in which the accused person’s efforts to not incriminate himself (by not giving cops more evidence of alleged impairment) can be used against him to try to establish intoxication.
- A failure on field sobriety tests
- An officers’ observations of the motorist – This may include seeing open containers of alcohol in a vehicle, observing motorists say they are drunk, etc.
Probable Cause for DUI Arrests: Additional Important Info
Just because an officer may have probable cause to make a DUI arrest does NOT mean that there is an airtight case against the accused individual. In fact, in many cases, probable cause can be flimsy, and the so-called evidence of driver impairment can be easily refuted or undermined with the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
This makes it vital for people facing DUI charges to retain an attorney as soon as possible in order to help them start building the strongest possible DUI defense case.
Contact an Adams County and Boulder DUI Attorney at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates
Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI? If so, an Adams County and Boulder DUI attorney at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates is ready to immediately start defending you. Our primary concern is protecting your constitutional rights throughout the criminal process while helping you obtain the best possible outcome to your DUI case.
To talk about your defense and how we can help you, call us today at (720) 863-7755 or email us using the contact form on this page. We offer complimentary consultations, and we take pride in always being available to our clients – 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – so that they have the personal attention their case deserves.
From our offices based in Northglenn, Broomfield and Boulder, we provide the strongest defense and highest quality legal services to our clients throughout Weld County, Adams County and the state of Colorado.