What is Probable Cause for a DUI in Florida?
If You’re Facing DUI Charges, You Need an Experienced Attorney Who Knows How to Protect Your Constitutional Rights
Many people who are facing DUI charges are unaware of their rights. In fact, it is not uncommon for the rights of individuals to be breached in the process of arrest, setting them up for difficulty in defending themselves against charges throughout the criminal process.
In order to arrest an individual for or a driving under the influence offense, a police officer must have probable cause. Probable cause is different than reasonable suspicion, and is a cornerstone of the criminal process and an accused person’s legal rights.
What Is Probable Cause?
Probable cause is a legal requirement that is found in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is necessary not only before police conduct a search, but also before they arrest a person for a DUI (or other offense) as well. While probable cause is not specifically defined by the Constitution, courts find probable cause when there is a reasonable basis for believing that a crime has likely been committed.
Probable Cause and DUI Stops and Arrests
Based on the above, a police officer must have a reasonable basis for believing that a person is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in order to arrest a person for a DUI offense. Examples of probable cause for a DUI arrest include:
- A breathalyzer result that reads that a defendant has a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 percent or above;
- A defendant’s statement that they are drunk (i.e. admitting to the crime);
- Obvious signs of intoxication, such as the results of a failed field sobriety test, stumbling, slurring words, or smelling of alcohol.
Police officers do not need probable cause to stop a vehicle; only to make an arrest. In order to stop a vehicle, they must have reasonable suspicion, a lower standard.
When a Police Officer Doesn’t Have Probable Cause
If a police officer arrests a defendant for a DUI offense without probable cause, they have breached the defendant’s Constitutional rights. Indeed, an officer cannot make an arrest just because they merely “think” that the person may have been drinking or driving, because they’re in a bad mood, or because the defendant is uncooperative. There must be hard evidence to make an arrest.
If a police officer arrests someone without probable cause, the defendant may have an ability to have charges dismissed. If charges are not dismissed, there may not be enough evidence to convict the person of a crime.
Contact the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A. Today
At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., we are passionate about protecting the Constitutional rights of our clients, and work aggressively on clients’ behalf when rights are violated.
If you believe that you have been arrested without probable cause or/and are facing DUI charges, our legal team is here to provide you with the competent legal representation you’re looking for. Please call us today or send us an email to schedule a consultation.