What Is Probable Cause For A DUI?

A DUI case will usually be dismissed if the arresting officer lacked probable cause. Bad driving is not required for a DUI probable cause determination. There are other factors the court will consider and a DUI attorney should always review the reports for a lack of probable cause.
Probable Cause for DUI in Washington

Consuming Alcohol Prior To Driving

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?”

Probable Cause For A DUI Stop

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.

Probable Cause needs to be more than a bare suspicion of criminal activity. 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 observations or a combination of factors. 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 a 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 are here to help 7 days a week. Call or Text (360) 792-1000 or fill out our form submission.