Probable Cause and DUI
When an individual is pulled over by a police officer, and subsequently arrested for driving under the influence, the Defendant may wonder what allowed the police officer to pull him or her over in the first place. In Nevada, pursuant to the search and seizure laws, police officers must have reasonable suspicion to pull a person over and investigate him or her for drunk driving, and probable cause to arrest a person for a DUI.
Reasonable suspicion prevents a person from being pulled over for no reason. An improper reason or a hunch would not qualify as reasonable suspicion. In Nevada, the reasonable suspicion does not have to relate to the DUI Offense. A police officer can pull an individual over for any traffic infraction or violation, no matter how minor. Traffic infractions or violation can include having an expired registration tag on the license plate, having no license plate at all, swerving in between lanes, speeding or not using the indicator when making a lane change. Unlike a traffic stop, Nevada DUI Checkpoints do not require reasonable suspicion. For more information on DUI Checkpoints, please click here. Reasonable suspicion for a DUI Investigation includes a person's driving pattern, fumbling when asked to produce documents, slurred speech, a person admitting that he or she has been drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana, and having alcohol bottles or marijuana remnants visible inside the car.
A police officer must have specific facts that lead him to suspect that the driver is driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, a prescription drug, an illegal drug, or a combination. Probable cause for a DUI arrest means that the reasonable police officer has a rational basis to believe that the driver's blood alcohol concentration or breath alcohol concentration is higher than 0.08%, or that the individual is too high to drive safely. Some information that might lead an arresting officer to have probable cause to arrest a person for a DUI under Nevada law include exhibiting signs of intoxication, having alcohol in the car or on the person, performing poorly on Field Sobriety Tests, and blowing higher than a 0.08% breath alcohol concentration on a preliminary breath test. Police officers may use the preliminary breath test and field sobriety tests, or a refusal to submit to such requests, to show probable cause to arrest the driver for driving under the influence.
Upon being placed under arrest, the police officer, having established probable cause, will ask the driver to submit to an evidentiary blood test or an evidentiary breath test. The results of this can be admissible in court, depending on the specifics of an individual's case. Conversely, sometimes the evidentiary test results can be inadmissible if the police officer did not follow proper protocol for establishing reasonable suspicion and probable cause, did not properly secure a warrant, or did not follow the procedures set in place for evidentiary tests. For more information on the preliminary breath test, please click here. For more information on field sobriety tests, please click here. If the officer had no reasonable suspicion to test the driver, then the test results are inadmissible in Court.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Nevada, it is important to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced Las Vegas DUI Attorney as soon as possible. Josh Tomsheck is a Las Vegas DUI Attorney who has over a decade of legal experience. Formerly, Josh Tomsheck was a Chief Deputy District Attorney in Las Vegas. This gives him an advantage to approach a case from both perspectives. This has allowed Josh Tomsheck to help DUI Clients have their charges reduced, or dismissed entirely. For more on his case results, please click here. For your free consultation, please contact him here today!