Police officers need to have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to
stop and arrest a person if they suspect the individual of committing
a crime such as
DUI. But what are the differences between the two?
Establishing Reasonable Suspicion
In regards to a DUI arrest, law enforcement officers need to establish
reasonable suspicion before pulling a driver over. For example, if a motorist
is driving erratically by swerving all over the road or making lane changes
without using their turn signal, then that establishes reasonable suspicion
of drunk driving.
Establishing Probable Cause
According to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, probable cause
typically refers to the requirement in criminal law that police have proper
reason to arrest someone, conduct a search, or seize property relating
to an alleged criminal offense. Probable cause for arrest exists when
facts and circumstances within an officer’s knowledge would result
in a reasonable person to believe that the suspect has committed, is committing,
or is about to commit a crime.
Specific facts and circumstances of a DUI include:
- Slurred speech
- The smell of alcohol coming from the suspect
- Reddened eyes
- Difficulty walking or staying still
- Difficulty paying attention or answering the officer’s questions
Probable cause is something more than the reasonable suspicion required
to justify a temporary investigative detention. Determining whether actions
by law enforcement were supported by probable cause often depends on the
specific facts and circumstances of your case.
Recently arrested for a DUI in Ventura County, CA?
Contact our Ventura DUI attorney at
The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers and request a
free consultation today.