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Probable Cause During a Los Angeles DUI Stop – Part Two

As discussed in the previous blog, 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. Admissions by the driver and observations made by an officer are just two of the ways an officer can suspect that a person is intoxicated. These will give the officer the probable cause needed to be arrested. These were discussed in the previous blog, Probable Cause During a Los Angeles DUI Stop – Part One. In this second part we discuss additional ways an officer can obtain probable cause.

  1. Field Sobriety Tests

If an officer feels that it is necessary, they can ask that you submit to a field sobriety test. There are several different test that can be administered.

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The HGN test is the most accurate of the three field sobriety tests. It involves an officer asking you to follow an object from side to side. The officer is checking for jerking or bouncing of the eyeball. This is an indication that there may be alcohol present in the driver’s system, or even certain drugs.

  1. Walk and Turn

This test is about 68% accurate. The officer will ask the driver to walk a straight line taking nine heel to toe steps. Once the driver has walked the line, they will be asked to turn around and return to the starting point in the same fashion, nine heel to toe steps. If the person does not follow instructions, or starts too early, then that could be an indication that the person is intoxicated.

  1. One Leg Up

This test is about 65% accurate and the officer is required to demonstrate this test to the driver. They are asked to stand with both feet together and arms at the side. They are then asked to lift one leg up and count upwards of 1000.

All these tests must be clearly instructed by the officer and demonstrated if necessary. It is important for there to be clear instructions so as to avoid any procedural issues. If an officer has not given clear instructions, it is possible that the results of the test may be tossed out which could result in no probable cause.

These tests are very subjective with the officers observations being the only source of evidence as to intoxication. If you submitted to these tests and are concerned that you were not given proper instruction or it was impossible to perform due to external circumstances or conditions, it is a good idea to consult with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney as soon as possible. It could be the key to having your DUI charges reduced or dismissed based upon all legal defenses and remedies available to you under California Criminal law.