DUI Lawyer in Arlington, Virginia
It is important that you never drive while intoxicated. However, it is helpful to know how police officers determine whether someone is too intoxicated to drive. This knowledge can help you avoid getting a DUI. The way the process is actually more complicated than you might think. This guide from an Arlington, Virginia DUI lawyer will explain everything you need to know.
First, you should understand the laws surrounding DUIs. There are actually two laws that deal with this matter. The first states that you cannot operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level above 0.08. The second law is much more subjective. It simply states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle while too impaired. Each individual police officer needs to decide on a case-by-case basis whether someone is too impaired to drive. This means it is possible to receive a DUI with a blood alcohol content level below 0.08 or while impaired by some other mind-altering substance.
Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause
So what is the actual process a police officer goes through to make a DUI arrest? There are two things that are required:
- Reasonable Suspicion
- Probable Cause
Reasonable suspicion is needed for a police officer to pull anyone over. It is essentially any reason a police officer might have to suspect that something is wrong. There does not need to be solid proof, but there does need to be something tangible to raise suspicion. A police officer cannot pull someone over randomly hoping to find something incriminating after the fact. A DUI lawyer in Arlington VA can use lack of reasonable suspicion to defend against the DUI stop.
However, at specific checkpoint stops, it is legal to investigate cars randomly following a set pattern. Examples of reasonable suspicion include driving too fast or slow, swerving while driving, or colliding with objects.
Probable cause is similar to reasonable suspicion, but it applies to making the arrest rather than pulling a car over. Probable cause is needed to make an arrest and it must be some tangible, solid proof that a crime has been committed. Examples of probable cause include empty alcohol containers in the car, a failed sobriety test, or the inability to function after being pulled over.
It is very important that a police officer follows this process correctly. Reasonable suspicion is necessary before pulling a car over and probable cause is necessary before making an arrest. If there is no reasonable suspicion or probable cause, or if they are discovered out of order, your charges will almost certainly be dropped. An Arlington VA DUI lawyer can help you make that happen.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, contact May Law, LLP to find out how a DUI lawyer Arlington VA clients recommend can help defend against these charges.