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Probable Cause During a Los Angeles DUI Stop – Part One

You will be asked certain questions by an officer during a routine DUI stop. An officer needs probable cause for intoxication before he can arrest you for suspicion of driving under the influence. There are several different ways to obtain probable cause.

  1. Admissions

Oftentimes, to be compliant, drivers will admit to having been drinking. These statements can be used against you. You have the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and not say anything that could incriminate you. If you do offer an admission, it can later be used as proof of your intoxication, or in the very least of you having consumed alcoholic beverages. Lets consider an example.

Donny is driving home from a birthday party. He has had a few drinks. He is pulled over for speeding, and officers ask him if he has been drinking. He has been drinking and he admits to having had a few beers. This is all officers need to arrest him for suspicion of driving under the influence. Those statements will also be noted in the officers report, which will then be used as evidence in court.

  1. Officer Observations

An officer can also substantiate probable cause through the use of observations. If the officer sees that you smell of alcohol or are slurring. They will make note of these observations and they may use these to arrest you. Let’s consider another example.

Danielle is driving home from visiting with a friend. She has had a few glasses of wine and does not think she is intoxicated. When officers pull her over and ask if she has been drinking, she says that she prefers not to answer any questions she is not required to answer. Officers then notice that when she is speaking she is slurring her words and her eyes are red. They also smell a strong odor of red wine on her breath. This is enough for officers to suspect that she has been drinking and for her to arrested. The officers observations will be noted in the report, which will then be submitted as evidence. Furthermore, Prosecutors will not doubt subpoena the officer and have him testify as well if the matter goes to trial.

Probable cause is a big hurdle for officers to cross and one that is required before any kind of evidence is gathered or sought. There are many ways they can gather this evidence. It is important for you to be aware of the different legal defense available to you, including procedural loopholes. If evidence is not properly gathered it can be tossed it, and cannot be considered by a Jury or Judge. It may lead to a dismissal or even a reduction in charges for you. Consulting with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer is the best step you can take towards destroying Prosecution’s case against you and ensuring that you gain the best possible advantage against DUI charges against you.