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Probable cause for drunk driving arrests

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

Strict traffic regulations are in place to keep motorists safe. Drunk driving continues to pose a threat, so law enforcement officers (LEOs) diligently watch for indications of potential impairment.

Drinking and driving naturally increases your chance of a driving under intoxication (DUI) charge. However, not all arrests stem from lawful traffic stops.

Reasonable suspicion in theory and practice

Did you know law enforcement officers have job-related legal requirements? For example, they must respect the Fourth Amendment, which safeguards citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Probable cause is a legal standard that enables police to initiate an arrest or conduct a search when they suspect illegal activity. Rules and regulations help increase accountability by minimizing subjective biases or arbitrary judgments.

Establishing probable cause is crucial for preserving the rights of individuals presumed guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Charges resulting from an unfounded traffic stop may not hold up in court.

Questions would probably arise from these three behaviors

Several common factors contribute to determining probable cause. Officers may pull a driver over for observed behaviors like:

  • Swerving across lane lines
  • Improper passing
  • Failure to stop at a red light

Driving significantly below the speed limit may also indicate potential intoxication.

Balancing public safety and legal protection

Public safety is of utmost importance. So too, are individuals’ rights.

The concept of probable cause should do both: play a crucial role in saving lives and base criminal implications on practical concerns. Undoubtedly, drivers who are handcuffed and escorted in the back of a squad car will want to make sure the justice system is at work as intended.