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How Does Probable Cause Affect a DUI Case?

 Posted on April 25, 2023 in Uncategorized


Illinois drunk driving arrests often begin with a traffic stop. The officer pulls a driver over for suspicion of drunk driving or a traffic violation based on the officer’s observation. The officer may then ask the driver to take a breath alcohol test or perform a series of field sobriety tests. If the results of these tests indicate intoxicated driving, the driver is arrested for DUI.

However, many people are unsure of the line between their rights and police officers' authority. Can a police pull you over for any reason? Do officers have to see evidence of drunk driving, such as drifting between lanes, to arrest someone for DUI? What if a police officer has no valid reason for conducting a traffic stop in the first place?

Understanding the Legal Concept of Reasonable Suspicion

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably by laypersons, "probable cause" and "reasonable suspicion" are two different legal standards. Reasonable suspicion is required for a police officer to pull someone over, while probable cause is necessary for an arrest or a search of a vehicle.

Reasonable suspicion refers to the idea that there must be some reasonable grounds for a police officer to stop someone. There must be "specific and articulable facts" that warrant the police officer's engagement with the individual. This could be anything from driving too slowly to driving slightly over a double yellow line.

Probable cause means that the officer has reason to believe that the driver is committing or has committed a crime. It is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion, and the officer must have specific evidence to demonstrate why he or she believed the person was committing a crime. For example, in DUI cases, a portable breath alcohol test can be used to establish probable cause for a drunk driving arrest. If the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than the legal limit, the officer has the authority to arrest him or her for drunk driving.

By understanding the difference between reasonable suspicion and probable cause, you can better protect your legal rights if you find yourself in a DUI situation. If an officer has not established reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop or probable cause for the DUI arrest, you may have grounds to challenge the charges in court. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can help you understand your rights and build the best defense possible.

Contact Joliet DUI Defense Lawyer for Help Fighting Your DUI Charge

If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI, contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. for help defending yourself against the charges. Our Will County DUI defense attorney can provide legal advice customized to your particular circumstances. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.

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