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DUI lawyer Salt Lake City UT
The Constitution of the United States, along with the Bill of Rights, affords everyone in Utah and the rest of the country certain legal rights that protect them from being unfairly signaled out by law enforcement and prosecutors. One of the legal principles that must be present when a driver is stopped by police is that there must be probable cause for that officer to stop you. The legal definition of probable cause is facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a crime was in the process of being committed, had been committed, or was going to be committed. As a DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City UT can explain, that means a police officer cannot just stop you randomly; they must have a reason.
When an officer makes a DUI stop, that officer must have probable cause to do so. There must have been something about the way the driver was operating the vehicle or the vehicle itself that alerted that officer that the person behind the wheel may be driving while under the influence.
The following are some of the reasons that police cite in their arrest reports as to why they pulled the driver over. In some cases, a Salt Lake City UT DUI lawyer may be able to show that there was no valid probable cause and therefore the stop itself violated the driver’s rights.
Poor driving: Police officers are allowed to pull drivers over if they observe the vehicle lane jumping, traveling too slow, driving the wrong way, or exhibiting other erratic driving behaviors. Any of these may indicate a driver is intoxicated.
Traffic violations: Getting stopped for a traffic violation is one of the most common probable cause scenarios resulting in DUI arrests. Because of their intoxication, the driver may fail to notice traffic lights or stop signs. They may be speeding. Other violations may have to do with the vehicle itself, like having a headlight light.
Car accidents: A police officer should be called to the scene of every accident in order to document accident liability, however, if one of the drivers is under the influence of alcohol, it is highly likely the officer will detect that based on any number of factors. In fact, observing for any signs of DUI at an accident scene is something law enforcement routinely does.
If an officer arrests a person for DUI but fails to show there was actual probable cause, the driver’s attorney can request the court dismiss the charges under the exclusionary rule. This rule says that any evidence obtained by unlawful police actions must be thrown out and cannot be used as evidence. Failure to have probable cause for a traffic stop that results in a DUI arrest falls under the exclusionary rule.
If you have been charged with a DUI, contact Rasmussen & Miner to meet with a Salt Lake City UT DUI lawyer and find out how we can help.