Articles Posted in Probable Cause

Many of our clients are concerned about statements they have made during a DUI arrest. During an arrest, any statements that you make to officers may be included in the officer’s arrest report. The officer’s report and observations then are used in Court as evidence against the person being charged. Therefore, statements made during the arrest can be crucial to your case, and should be made carefully.

At the time of arrest, many people are scared and have not dealt with law enforcement before. Feeling that honesty is at issue and that they are required to answer any questions the officer may ask, the person being arrested usually fully complies and gives any answers the officers are looking for.

However, every person has a right against self incrimination. This is their fifth amendment right, which protects every person from having to provide evidence that can be used against them when they are being prosecuted. The fifth amendment right extends to any kind of arrest, including DUI arrests. This means that when a driver has been stopped by officers for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, they have the right to remain silent.

When a person has been stopped and arrested for a DUI, it different from having been convicted of a DUI. An arrest shows that a person has be strongly suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and there is enough evidence to demonstrate that they may be found guilty.

However, a person cannot be found guilty until it has been proven that there is enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was under the influence. A person may still be arrested but not convicted. You can be arrested and then found to be innocent, or not enough evidence to prove guilt in Court. In that situation, the case will likely be dismissed or the person will be charged with a lower charge.

A person’s arrest record will be different from a person’s criminal record. An arrest will remain on your arrest record, but if you are not convicted, it will not go on your permanent criminal record. A criminal record is what future employers and financial institutions will consider. Therefore, it is best to have any charges filed against you to end with just an arrest and charges being dismissed in Court.

When a person is arrested on suspicion of DUI, they will be tried before a Court of justice. The Prosecutor must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that all elements of a DUI are met. A person cannot be convicted of a DUI if each element is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

For a DUI, the Court must determine that the driver was in fact operating a vehicle, and the person was intoxicated under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Officers must have reasonable cause to pull a person over. Probable cause is often a violation of the California Vehicle Code.

For example, a driver is driving down the street and fails to stop at a stop sign. An officer pulls him over. The officer has probable cause in this situation because the driver ran a stop sign. Once the driver violated a section of the California Vehicle code, the officer has reason to stop him at any time.

Client always asked me at our first consultation, whether or not it is possible to get the their recent DUI case dismissed. I provide each client with an honest answer, that is, it depends. The law requires that for a driver to be convicted of a driving under the influence charge, certain legal requirements must be properly proven.

Regardless of a drivers blood alcohol level at the time that they were stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, the police must legally justify a traffic stop by specifically identifying the vehicle code violation committed by the driver which gives rise to a lawful stop. This critical foundation is known as the principle of probable cause. Essentially, every DUI stop is required to have sufficient probable cause, or legal reason.

The absence of probable cause requires dismissals are granted, when it is determined by a prosecutor, judge, or jury that the officer lacked probable cause to justify a stop. Our firm recently represented a client who was stopped by the police for driving without his rear license plate illuminated. The driver was arrested for DUI because he had a blood alcohol reading of .18, over two times the legal limit. This case was ultimately dismissed on a defense motion when the driver and two passengers contested the police allegation regarding the light.sThe judge determined that the officer lacked probable cause to stop the driver because he believed that there was in fact a working license plate light as testified by the driver and his witness/passengers.

When many of our clients are arrested for a DUI, they are not given a specific reason for being stopped. When a cop pulls you over, he must have a valid reason for doing so. Furthermore, if an alcohol screening test is administered, he must have probable cause.

When a cop initially indicates that you pull over, he must have a valid reason. This reason can be as simple as a broken taillight, or something as serious as swerving in and out of lanes. An officer cannot make assumptions that you may be intoxicated and they cannot pull you over if there is no reason for them to do so. For example, if you are driving and you run a red light, the officer has a reason to stop you. Similarly, if you do not signal, or make an illegal U-turn, the officer has a valid reason to pull you over.

Once the officer pulls you over, he may ask you to complete a preliminary alcohol screening test only if he has reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion is facts or circumstances that lead the officer to believe that you may under the influence. For example, if you are slurring, the officer has reasonable suspicion to question you regarding your impairment. If you exhibit no behavior that could indicate intoxication, the officer does not have the authority to ask you to take an alcohol screening test.

Police officers are always right… wrong! At Hoffman and Associates, our law firm has successfully defended thousands of driving under the influence cases. One of our effective strategies is to attack and challenge the credibility of the officers observations, statements and conclusions being used against our clients.

You may be unlucky enough to have been stopped by the police for allegedly committing a vehicle code violation, but it is not necessarily true. The main thrust of an officer’s education at the Academy is how to build a case against suspected violators. Officers are taught from the beginning that they must always justify and build a case.

One of the major areas of challenging the officers observations is to point out to the prosecutor, judge or jury, that although the officer will testify from the witness stand, or by the statements in police reports, that his credibility must be established like any other witness, despite the fact that he is a police officer.

The credibility or believability of an officer saw summations and statements should never be considered totally accurate or correct. It is essential that all statements declare fully scrutinized and challenge by her attorney in a DUI or other criminal case.

Very often when our attorneys are reviewing police reports with our clients, major and minor factual discrepancies appear with no rational explanation. Although it’s easy to assume that the clients, or person being charged with the offense is lying or fabricating to make themselves look better. There is often another reasonable explanation.

Although police officers are employed to protect and serve the community, and hold themselves out as neutral and unbiased people, that is not always the case. Police officers also have an agenda… that is to build a criminal case against a suspect who he has determined to be guilty.

The officer’s observations in the police reports that he completes after an arrest, are the basis for determining the relative strength or weakness of the state of California’s case against you.

In a driving under the influence arrest, the first critical element to evaluate is whether the officers had probable cause to stop you. In a DUI case, the more vehicle code violationssthe officers cite in their report create a stronger case for the prosecution. Vehicle code violations such as technical violations, like no license plates, or a tail light out although valid probable cause, create a weaker case for the prosecution.

Vehicle code violations like weaving, lane Straddling, or driving on the wrong side of the street, create a stronger case for the prosecution since they add a link for the prosecutor to build a case of a impaired driving.

When you are pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated there are several requirements that you must comply with. Knowing what you must do and what you have the right to refuse will better your chances of fighting a DUI case and will help weaken the government’s case.

A preliminary screening test is not required by law. If the officer asks you to take a test that will give a reading on your Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) at the site of the alleged DUI, this is upon your volition. It is not required that you take this test, you can choose to wait until you reach the station.

It is necessary that you provide the arresting officer with your basic information. This may include showing him or her a form of ID, insurance information and current address and phone number. The law requires that you have to provide this to the arresting officer and may not refuse to do so.

For the government to create a strong DUI case against you , the case needs to have all requisite elements which create the Prima Facie case. There must be proper probable cause and a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) that can be considered illegal under the appropriate vehicle code.

Probable cause is a complicated element. It is most commonly established by the manner in which you are caught driving. An experienced California DUI attorney has seen a plentitude of driving situations which have led to a DUI arrest and knows how to present the case so that it is most advantageous to the client. These are the benefits of hiring an attorney that not only specializes in DUI arrests, but has plenty of experience and knows how to handle each situation before the Judge.

Furthermore, there must be a BAC that is over the legal limit. Vehicle Codes 23152 and 23153 dictate the legal BAC. While the legal limit under VC 23152 (b) and 23153 (b) is set at .08%, it is possible to be charged with a lower BAC under section (a) of both sections of the Vehicle Code.s

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