There are a high number of fatalities each year related to drunk driving crashes. For this reason, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges carry severe penalties in Pennsylvania.
Police officers consistently carry our traffic stops, but they aren’t doing this at random- at least, they shouldn’t be. Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion before pulling someone over on suspicion of DUI. This means that something must stand out as unusual about the conduct of the driver, pointing to potential impairment. For instance, the car may be swerving or the driver might be exceeding the speed limit.
However, reasonable suspicion is not enough to file formal criminal charges. To do this, officers must establish probable cause. What does this mean?
Further evidence of impairment
Filing criminal charges is a serious decision that can have lasting impacts. Thus, officers need to be relatively sure that the person has committed an offense. In other words, they must have probable cause.
If the stopped individual has admitted to consuming alcohol, then the officer has probable cause to pursue criminal charges. This may also be the case if the driver is stumbling around, slurring their words or failing the field sobriety tests.
What if you have been charged?
Facing DUI charges is very serious but you are innocent until proven guilty. Law enforcement must have had a reasonable suspicion to stop you in the first place and probable cause to go on to arrest and charge you. To mount the best possible defense to the accusations, be sure to seek some legal guidance in order to protect your future.