Do the Police Need Probable Cause for a San Diego Driving Under the Influence Case?

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.

When the officer has not given a specific reason for why you are stopped, there is a potential weakness in Prosecution’s case. An experienced San Diego DUI Attorney knows the requisite elements for the government to file a DUI case against you. They can prepare a powerful defense that will demonstrate to the court that a case for driving under the influence was not established.