Probable Cause in Atlanta DUI Cases

Posted by Richard Lawson | Dec 01, 2012 | 0 Comments

Was There Probable Cause in Your Atlanta DUI Case?

In every Atlanta DUI Case, it is important to determine whether probable cause existed to place you under arrest for DUI of alcohol or drugs. The Atlanta Police establish probable cause by observing certain clues of impairment.  This most commonly includes slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, fumbling with your driver's license or registration, repeating questions or comments, admissions, the odor of alcohol, providing incorrect or inconsistent answers, and poor performance on field sobriety tests. Your Atlanta DUI Lawyer understands how defend against allegations that there was probable cause in your case.

Many of these observations are only evidence of the presence of alcohol in your system, and do not show that you were impaired or unsafe to drive.  However, your driving behavior, which is typically the reason for the initial stop, and your performance on field sobriety evaluations could support the officer's reasonable belief that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  These tests are frequently administered incorrectly and the scoring is very subjective.  That is why your Atlanta DUI Attorney investigates your case for scoring errors.

Many factors can affect the reliability of these tests including medical conditions, road conditions, the age or weight of the driver and environmental conditions.  During the standardized field sobriety tests, the officer will be evaluating your performance by looking for certain clues. These clues, if observed, may provide the officer with probable cause to arrest. You are not required to answer any questions or perform any field sobriety tests and in most cases by submitting to field sobriety tests you are only helping the officer build his case against you. Most Atlanta DUI Lawyers recommend against submitting to field sobriety tests.

Since field sobriety testing is used to establish probable cause in your Atlanta DUI case, your DUI Attorney in Atlanta GA should be certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Only then can he properly evaluate and interpret whether the officer administered and scored the field sobriety tests correctly.  Your lawyer will also review the patrol car video, which will show your speech pattern, steadiness, and general appearance. The can be used to refute the officer's alleged observations. This is important if the officer's initial stop was based on a serious traffic violation or erratic driving that without qualification strongly suggests impairment. Impairment is, however, completely subjects.  Atlanta DUI Attorneys know how to refute field sobriety evidence.

If no probable cause existed to arrest you, the officer could not legally request you submit to a breath or blood test and it, along with the arrest itself, would be suppressed.  This can lead to a more favorable plea negotiation or even a full dismissal of the DUI charges against you. What constitutes probable cause is a complex area of the law and if you have been arrested for DUI, you need to consult a DUI Lawyer in Atlanta GA today to evaluate whether sufficient probable cause to arrest existed in your case. Call Your Atlanta DUI Lawyer now.

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Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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