The offense of DUI or Driving Under the Influence consists of “driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.” You can drive after consuming alcohol so long as you are not impaired by the alcohol. Thus, a person can legally drink and drive, but the two activities cannot be combined to the degree where the drinking affects the driving. Allowing some amount of alcohol to be legally consumed before driving begs the question – what is the threshold for “Probable Cause?” Law enforcement can arrest an individual for drunk driving based upon probable cause. It is important to know how law enforcement and the Courts determine or interpret probable cause. Courts have ruled that P.C. to arrest must be based on the facts known to the arresting officer at the time of arrest, not facts established after the arrest. It is a judgement call where the facts and circumstances known to the officer would warrant a reasonably cautious person to believe that the offense of DUI is being committed. P.C. needs to be more than a bare suspicion of criminal activity, and it should not be viewed in a hyper technical manner. It is determined by viewing the total facts of each case, viewed in a practical, non-technical manner.
Law Enforcement and the Courts Looks For Certain Things.
Typically, the Courts deem that an officer’s report notating blood shot watery eyes, slurred speech and an odor of alcohol is enough. It can be one of these or any combination. Courts have consistently held that odor alone can rise to the level of probable cause. Poor driving does not need to be present for the probable cause determination.
Questions About Probable Cause and your DUI?
If you have questions about DUI in Washington State, or probable cause for your arrest, contact the Witt Law Group. Probable cause is a complicated subject, but it must be reviewed in every case. We have had many cases thrown out due to an arrest that lacked adequate probable cause. We have locations in Gig Harbor and Bremerton and we practice DUI defense in Kitsap (Bremerton, Port Orchard, Silverdale) and Jefferson Counties and also in Gig Harbor Municipal Court. We would be glad to consult with you about your case, free of charge. Call our office at (253) 312-3838 (Gig Harbor) or (360) 792-1000 (Bremerton) or fill out our online contact form by CLICKING HERE. Best of luck!