Getting arrested for a DUI can be emotionally and financially devastating. However, just because you were arrested, does not mean the arrest was valid. If an officer lacked reasonable suspicion for the initial stop or probable cause for the arrest, the arrest would be invalidated and the charges against you would likely be dropped.
Reasonable suspicion for DUI stop
Most DUIs begin with a routine traffic stop. In order to stop a driver, the officer must have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. An officer may observe a driver behaving erratically on the roadways by weaving in and out of traffic, running a stop sign, or excessively speeding.
Probable cause for DUI arrest
While reasonable suspicion is enough for the initial stop, probable cause is required for the arrest. Under the Fourth Amendment, an officer can only arrest you if they have probable cause, or a reasonable belief that the driver committed a crime.
As the officer approaches the vehicle and speaks to the driver, the officer may notice the driver’s bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath. They may then ask the driver to submit to a Breathalyzer test, as well as field sobriety tests. The officer’s observations, combined with the results of those tests, may be sufficient probable cause for arrest.
What if there was no probable cause?
Proving a lack of probable cause is one of the best defenses a driver has against DUI charges. A Illinois criminal defense attorney can help come up with an effective strategy that proves your arrest was illegal and gets your DUI charges dropped.