Probable cause is an important legal principle. It means a police officer or other law enforcement official can only stop and question you on a reasonable suspicion you have done something wrong.
Police must have probable cause for a DUI stop in Georgia. In other words, something about your driving must have alerted the officer to the fact you could be drunk.
The following are factors that can establish probable cause for an officer to pull you over for a DUI stop in Georgia.
Traffic violations are one of the most common reasons police pull over motorists. You may have failed to stop properly at a stop sign or be speeding. Your car may have a light out. If a police officer smells alcohol on your breath or your speech is slurred, he or will likely investigate further.
Police attend most traffic accidents. The officer is responsible for compiling a report. He or she will routinely look for drunk driving as a cause of the accident. Even if intoxicated driving did not cause the accident, the officer may give a breath test to a driver suspected of being drunk.
Police officers habitually pull over motorists for erratic driving, weaving in and out of traffic, wrong way driving, or even traveling too slowly which may indicate impaired driving.
A police officer may base probable cause for a DUI stop on the behavior he observes. For instance, an officer could question a driver he sees walking erratically to his car at a bus station.
Field Sobriety Tests
Law enforcement officers often ask DUI suspects to perform field sobriety tests. Police use field sobriety tests to find probable cause to give you further tests. Georgia motorists are not required to agree to field sobriety tests. Drivers should politely refuse to take part because the tests are only in the interests of law enforcement.
When police fail to show probable cause for a DUI stop, a defense attorney can use the ‘exclusionary rule.’
The rule is relevant when the initial stop wasn’t supported by reasonable suspicion. The arrest of a DUI suspect lacked probable cause. The exclusionary rule requires a court to throw out any evidence obtained an unlawful illegal police action.
This is very important in a DUI case. The exclusionary rule can lead to the dismissal of a case or a plea bargain can be sought to reduce the severity of charges against you.
If you or a family member has been charged with drunk driving, please call a Newnan criminal defense lawyer today at (404) 913-1529.