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Legal Defenses to a California Driving Under the Influence Charge – No Probable Cause

Many of our clients proclaim that the officer had no reason to stop them while driving and administer a field sobriety test. The reason may be any number of things, but our clients hold that those are false allegations. If there is no actual probable cause for an officer to pull someone over, then they cannot charge you with a DUI. Some common causes that officers cite for pulling a person over include: weaving in and out of lanes, broken taillight, not indicating before turning, and not staying within the lanes. If a person is stopped for doing any of the aforementioned violations, plus any others, an officer has a right to stop the person and ask the person to complete some field sobriety tests if they feel it may be necessary.

In the absence of any valid reason to stop a person, the officer has no right to do so. The police report will list the reason the person was initially stopped. When a person claims that there was never a reason to stop them, it is the officer’s word against our client’s, which brings up the issue of credibility. Generally the officer is taken to be accurate in his report, and his or her word is to be taken as truth. The person charged however, does not have as much credibility for many reasons, including the assumption that they were intoxicated at the time of the report.

When a person claims that there is no probable cause, it can often be difficult to prove. For example, say a person is stopped by an officer because they were weaving in and out of lanes. The officer stops the person, and notices symptoms of intoxication and administers a field sobriety test. The person is found to have a relatively high BAC and is taken into the station and charged with a DUI. Later on the person hires a Los Angeles DUI attorney and claims they were not weaving in and out of lanes, and therefore the officer had no right to stop them.

This would be difficult to prove when it is the officer’s word against that of the person charged, unless there are witnesses to corroborate the story. There may be other passengers in the car, or there may be friends who are following them and watch as the officer stops the driver. In these situations, they may be able to make an argument, but there will always be an element and doubt for bias.

Oftentimes it is difficult to disprove what is written in the police report, but there is certainly room to try. An experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney can explain all possible defenses and its probability for success in an obligation free consultation.