4 Examples of Probable Cause for DUI Arrest in Arizona
A police officer needs to have an objective belief that you’ve committed a crime or that you’ve engaged in some kind of illegal activity to arrest you on DUI charges. The legal term for this belief is probable cause.
There are several legitimate reasons for a police officer to take you in custody. If the stop and the following arrest are just random, you will get to challenge the DUI charges. Thus, you need to know your rights in Arizona, even if you’re getting arrested. You can’t just be pulled over randomly and this is key information you’ll need to share with your DUI lawyer.
Probable cause and reasonable suspicion are two separate things you’ll need to distinguish between. Reasonable suspicion is the one that will contribute to you being pulled over. Speeding, swerving from one lane to another or a failure to stop at a stop sign will all qualify as reasonable suspicion. Once you’re pulled over, the police officer will have to also establish probable cause in order to arrest you.
Here are a few examples of legitimate probable cause that could contribute to DUI charges and a subsequent legal arrest.
Once an Arizona police officer starts engaging with you, they’ll look for signs of impairment.
Law enforcement professionals are trained to observe the behavior of drivers while engaging with them. They will be paying attention to a few telltale signs of intoxication. Slurred speech is one of the most common examples of probable cause.
A conversation with a police officer isn’t just about the information you’re providing, they’ll also be observing the delivery. Your body language, speech pattern and slurring could indicate impairment caused by alcohol or drugs.
Odor of Alcohol or Presence of Bottles in the Car
Apart from paying attention to you and your behavior, an Arizona police officer will also examine the inside of the vehicle through the open car window.
A strong smell of alcohol coming from the car or the presence of open bottles inside will both provide probable cause for an Arizona DUI arrest.
Problems with Exiting the Vehicle or Standing Straight
You need to cooperate during a DUI stop. A police officer can ask you to produce your documents or get out of the vehicle. It’s in your best interest to cooperate and follow through with such requests.
A driver who’s finding it difficult to get out of the car could be impaired. The same applies to a person who has to lean on the car door to stand up straight or who cannot maintain the position without support.
Finding it difficult to produce the documents that the police officer has asked for could also provide probable cause for an arrest.
An Admission of Drinking
Many people commit an act of self-incrimination when talking to an Arizona police officer. Thus, you have to be polite when you’re being asked a question but you don’t really need to give the law enforcement professional a lot of information.
At a DUI stop, you may be asked about where you’re coming from and if you’ve consumed alcohol. Telling a police officer that you’re coming from a night club or admitting the consumption of alcohol in the past few hours will both provide a probable cause.
You have the right to remain silent, even before being taken in custody or charged with DUI. As a citizen, you have no obligation to give police officers information about your behavior, location or the people you spend time with before getting pulled over.
These are just four examples of probable cause. In Arizona, probable cause could also be established through field sobriety tests, an observation of your driving, an observation of your physical features (bloodshot eyes, flushed face, etc.) or a breathalyzer test.
In some cases, it isn’t 100 percent clear if the Arizona police officer had probable cause for an arrest. In such instances, your DUI attorney will be armed with the necessary ammunition to challenge the arrest and to have the DUI charges dropped.