Attorneys Representing Clients In

New Hampshire And Massachusetts

Probable cause for DUI demands more than a suspicion

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When a New Hampshire police officer pulls a motorist over in traffic, there must be a legitimate reason to do so. A driver should always comply, immediately pulling off the road in as safe a manner as possible. If a patrol officer suspects driver intoxication, he or she will undoubtedly ask the driver to step out of the vehicle. To make a DUI arrest, however, the officer must establish probable cause.

Many people mistakenly believe the terms “reasonable suspicion” and “probable cause” are interchangeable, but they’re not. The former refers to traffic stop legitimacy, meaning that a patrol officer has a justifiable reason for pulling someone over. The latter refers to evidence that a driver has committed a DUI crime.

How do police establish a probable cause for a DUI arrest?

There are several ways to establish probable cause to make a DUI arrest. It is common for police to ask a driver to take a roadside breath test or field sobriety test. Failing such tests constitutes probable cause for a suspected drunk driving arrest. However, New Hampshire motorists are not obligated to take such tests.

A police officer can also establish probable cause for a DUI arrest in other ways. For example, if an officer sees an open container of alcohol in a driver’s vehicle, an arrest can be made. Not all arrests are valid and facing drunk driving charges does not mean a conviction will occur. If an arrest takes place, the best thing to do is request immediate legal support.

FindLaw Network