Probable cause and reasonable suspicion are what police officers need to
have in order to stop you and arrest you if they suspect you are driving
under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Law enforcement officials cannot
arbitrarily stop your vehicle since the U.S. Constitution guarantees everyone
freedom of movement. So to pull you over, a police must have either one
of these two reasons.
What is Probable Cause?
Probable cause simply means that enough reliable information exists to
support a reasonable belief that an individual has committed a crime—in
this case, driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Whether there is evidence of alcohol or drug use—such as reddened
eyes or slurred speech—or failure to perform field sobriety tests,
officers look for such facts in order to obtain probable cause for an arrest.
What is Reasonable Suspicion?
Before pulling a driver over, a police officer needs to reasonably suspect
criminal activity. This violation of the law can be just about anything—speeding,
running through a stop sign or red light, erratic driving, or an array
of other factors.
Arguing Lack of Probable Cause or Reasonable Suspicion
Arguing that a law enforcement official lacked probable cause or reasonable
suspicion is typically quite challenging. However, sometimes police officers
make mistakes—and when they do—it could lead to a dismissal
of charges of a “not guilty” verdict.
For example, if the defendant’s lawyer can prove that the arresting
officer did not have a valid basis for pulling the driver over, everything
that following that detention is considered inadmissible in court without
reasonable suspicion. In other words, despite the fact the officer has
evidence after the stop which proves that a driver has a BAC level over
the legal limit, that evidence will not be shown in court if the stop
If you have been recently arrested for a
DUI in Ventura County,
contact our Ventura DUI attorney at
The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers and request a
free initial consultation today.