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Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / DUI / Reasonable suspicion and probable cause in a DUI charge

Reasonable suspicion and probable cause in a DUI charge

If the police arrest you and charge you with driving under the influence (DUI), it is important to consider your legal options. While you could just accept the charge and face the consequences, those consequences can affect areas of your life that you might not realize. It makes sense to understand what, if any, probability you have of beating the charge.

The police must believe two things are true – one to stop you and the other to arrest you. If you can show either of those things were untrue or cast sufficient doubt, then a court may dismiss the case against you.

Reasonable suspicion

The police must show they have reasonable suspicion that you are breaking the law in order to stop you.

That alleged breach of the law does not need to relate to alcohol. So, while they could stop you because they see you weaving across the road and think you must be drunk, they can also pull you over for a broken taillight or because your vehicle matches the description of one reported involved in a robbery. Once they stop you, they can then ask you to perform tests for alcohol, even if that is not what the initial stop was about.

Probable cause

If the police wish to arrest you, they must show something more. Failing the tests can give them that. It gives them probable cause that you were indeed driving under the influence of alcohol. 

Officers may claim they had reasonable suspicion to stop you and probable cause to arrest you, but you are entitled to contest either or both of these claims. Learning more about how the legal process works can help.

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