Probable Cause

In order to arrest you for a DUI in California under either Vehicle Code section 23152(a), driving under the influence or Vehicle Code section 23152(b), driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater, an officer must have probable cause to do so. “Probable cause” is defined as a reasonable belief that criminal activity, in this situation, “drunk driving” has occurred. Although commonly referred to as “drunk driving”, the driver need not be “drunk” to be arrested for this crime. A driver need not even be over a BAC of .08% to be arrested for this crime. That is why it is divided into Vehicle Code sections 23152(a) and 23152(b). Under VC 23152(a), the officer need only believe that the driver was under the influence of alcohol and could not drive in the same manner as a reasonably prudent sober person. Therefore, even if a driver has a BAC of .05%, for example, he or she could be arrested for the crime of DUI pursuant to VC 23152(a), if driving in an unsafe manner.

In these situations, the officer will usually observe some type of unsafe, erratic driving or a violation of a California Vehicle Code section that would give rise to probable cause to effectuate a traffic stop. If the officer has reason to believe the driver may be driving under the influence of alcohol, then further investigation is generally conducted through field sobriety tests (FST’s) that help determine whether the driver is impaired. Therefore, even if a driver blows below a .08% at the scene, the officer may have probable cause to arrest him or her for driving under the influence of alcohol based on the totality of the evidence. This is also commonly seen in VC 23152(e), driving under the influence of drugs cases. In these situations, the driver may have no alcohol in his system and blow a .0% BAC. However, the officer may have probable cause to arrest the driver for VC 23152(e) based on evidence that the driver is impaired. In these cases, the officer will commonly have the driver’s blood drawn in order to determine what prescription medications or controlled substances appear in the blood stream and are contributing to the level of impairment.

Contact an Experienced Temecula DUI Attorney

If you are arrested for a DUI crime, contact the Law Offices of Parwana Anwar, PLC for your free consultation. Our attorneys will determine if there was sufficient probable cause to stop your vehicle and make a DUI arrest. In situations where officers did not have sufficient probable cause, we will file a motion to suppress any evidence against you. This is generally accomplished through a Penal Code section 1538.5 hearing, commonly known as a motion to suppress. During this type of hearing, if a judge agrees that the initial basis for the stop was improper, the BAC evidence may be suppressed, resulting in your entire DUI case being dismissed.

In addition to the court proceedings, after a DUI arrest, you are entitled to a DMV hearing to determine the status of your license. There is generally a 10-day window from the date of your arrest to request a DMV administrative hearing for this purpose. At this hearing, the DMV will also determine if there was probable cause for the officer to effectuate an arrest for DUI. Our attorneys have years of experience with both PC 1538.5 motions (suppression of evidence hearings) and DMV administrative hearings. Contact a skilled DUI defense attorney today at 951-698-1250 to handle your DUI case.