What is Probable Cause?
When a police officer conducts an investigation for Driving Under the Influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), it is important that they follow the protocols of the investigation. One of the most important aspects of this is probable cause. Probable cause means that the officer had reasonable cause to believe that you were probably breaking the law. If you have been charged with DUI or DWAI, the first thing that you need to understand, and the first thing that a Denver criminal defense lawyer will check into, is that a police officer can only pull you over if he or she has probable cause for a traffic stop. Probable cause for a traffic stop can be created by committing a traffic infraction, such as speeding, weaving across lane lines, or failing to stop for a sign or signal, or by having a problem with your vehicle such as broken lights. An officer may not pull a driver over because of a â€œgut feelingâ€ that the driver has been drinking.
If an officer pulls you over for a traffic infraction, he or she needs further probable cause to begin a DUI investigation. In this case, the smell of alcohol, a visible open container, or slurred speech or other erratic behavior may constitute probable cause. If you are pulled over for a traffic infraction, but there is no evidence that you have been drinking, you should be free to go. If you are charged with DUI in a case in which the officer lacked probable cause, speak with an experienced Denver DUI Attorney to protect your rights. She may be able to have any evidence gained as a result of the illegal investigation suppressed.
What You Can Do
If the officer has probable cause for the traffic stop, then has further probable cause for a DUI investigation, he or she will ask you to submit to a field sobriety test, a breath analysis test, or a blood alcohol test as part of the DUI investigation. It is important to understand your rights regarding these three tests. If your Denver DUI Attorney can prove that the officer lacked probable cause for a DUI investigation, the evidence obtained in that investigation can be suppressed. Keeping in mind that the burden of proof is on the state, this would make their case against you much weaker.
If you have been charged with DUI or DWAI, you need to speak with an experienced Denver DUI Attorney immediately to protect your rights. DUI is an extremely complicated charge with potentially significant administrative consequences regarding your future driving privileges in addition to the criminal charge. Alaurice Tafoya-Modi has helped numerous Coloradans as they faced DUI charges. From working to secure your driver’s license, to disputing the validity of evidence against you, to working for the least severe penalty possible in the event of a conviction, Mrs. Tafoya-Modi is a fierce, compassionate advocate for all of her clients. She understands that everyone can make mistakes, but also that being charged with DUI does not mean that you are guilty. For more information and a FREE CONSULTATION, contact Alaurice at The Tafoya Law Firm at (303)813-1100.