Reasonable Cause in a Los Angeles DUI Stop

If you have been stopped for a Los Angeles DUI, you should know that there are several different legal obstacles officers must cross before they are able to question you regarding intoxication. What do I mean by that? Let’s take it step by step so that you can better understand your rights.

Before an officer can ever ask you to pull over, they must have a valid reason for doing so. This reason is generally a lawful traffic stop. This can be running a red light, speeding, weaving, illegal U-turn, etc. But the bottom line is that an officer cannot ask you to pull over based on whim or their instinct alone. You must have violated traffic law to be stopped in the first place.

There are two exceptions to this; a welfare check, and a DUI checkpoint. A valid reason is not required when you are pulled over at the side of the road. Officers are required to stop and see if you are ok, and if you need help. This is called a welfare check. Officers also do not need a reason to stop at a DUI checkpoint. You are required to stop. However, if you do not want to drive through the checkpoint, you are allowed to turn around the other way. This cannot be held against you.

The reason officers cannot stop you for an arbitrary reason is because of your constitutional rights, specifically your Fourth Amendment rights.

Assuming an officer has a lawful reason to stop you in the first place, he then needs reasonable cause to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer. Reasonable cause can be obtained in a few different ways. Sometimes, officers will question you whether you have been drinking or not. If you say that you have been drinking, this will give an officer reasonable cause to question further. Officers may also obtain reasonable cause through observation. If your breath smells like alcohol, if you appear intoxicated, or are slurring. These observations must be clearly documented and stated in the officer’s report regarding the arrest. If it is not, it leaves open room for argument by a Los Angeles DUI lawyer.

Much like the reasons an officer  cannot arbitrarily stop you while you are driving, officers cannot arbitrarily ask you to submit to alcohol testing. You have constitutional rights, and they protect you from unlawful search and seizure. An officer who arbitrarily stops you and seeks information from you violates this right.

These legal obstacles provide sufficient space for argument and proper defenses. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney, like those at Hoffman & Associates has handled over thousands of DUI cases and knows the best possible argument for each individual case. Our attorneys handle each client on a case by case basis. They take the time to review the individual facts of your case and review your history to tailor an argument and defense that ensures your case the best possible outcome. Do not hesitate, contact our office today!