In light of the Fourth Amendment, an officer needs probable cause to arrest you for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance (DUI). This means that the officer must observe facts and circumstances that are sufficient to support a reasonable belief that you have committed a DUI offense. Today we will discuss what constitutes probable cause or PC for a DUI arrest. And if you are facing DUI charges, give Mike Ferrell a call at The Ferrell Law Firm, PLLC. Mike has extensive knowledge of Colorado’s DUI laws and has successfully handled many such cases.
Factors That Could Give an Officer Probable Cause for a DUI Arrest
Some of the information that an officer can use to uphold a DUI arrest will probably not surprise you, while other justifications for a DUI arrest might not be what you expected. Remember that in any arrest, including a DUI, probable cause is based on what an officer knows, and officers tend to have some specialized knowledge about the indicators of drug and alcohol use.
Details an officer can use to arrest someone for a DUI include the following:
- Erratic driving,
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Watery eyes,
- The smell of drugs or alcohol,
- Slurred speech,
- Open bottles in the car,
- Volume control issues when speaking,
- Flushed skin,
- Uncoordinated movements,
- Drug paraphernalia,
- Incoherent speech,
- Unusually large or small pupils,
- Physical tics,
- Nausea, and
- The results of a breathalyzer test.
And however subtle a driver might think a change in their behavior is after a moment of drinking or partaking in another substance, that change could still be a legally supported reason to arrest them. As the Colorado Department of Transportation notes, many don’t realize that even if a breathalyzer reveals a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) lower than .08%, the police can still arrest them if other factors suggest impairment.
It’s also good to remember that police also need reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to stop your car in the first place. If they did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, then your lawyer could submit a Motion to Suppress all the evidence they collected or observed during the illegal stop.
Factors That Justify a Traffic Stop
Sobriety checkpoints are a legal way for officers to stop all drivers in a particular area to check for signs of intoxication. And as discussed above, police can stop anyone they reasonably suspect is engaged in criminal activity. Many officers base their reasonable suspicion on a driver’s failure to obey major or minor traffic laws, including the following:
- Failing to keep their vehicle in a safe condition,
- Failing to yield,
- Improper backing,
- Failing to stop at a sign or light, or
- Careless driving.
If an officer has falsified their reason for pulling you over, there might be grounds to dismiss your case. But making these legal determinations is a complex process, and you should have the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to help make sure your rights are protected.
Mike Ferrell Is Your Defender
A DUI arrest is scary, and you should have a good advocate in your corner. Mike Ferrell is a seasoned criminal defense attorney in Boulder who has represented hundreds of DUI defendants. With extensive experience on both sides of a criminal case, Mike knows exactly how to expose insufficiencies and dishonesty in the criminal justice system and convince the State to drop your case or reduce the penalties. In other words, he can protect your rights and help to get you the best result possible. Seek help right away by calling The Ferrell Law Firm at 720-687-2795 or contacting us online.