Defeating DUI Charges for Lack of Reasonable Suspicion or Probable Cause

Most DUI arrests in Ventura follow a stop by the police for some sort of traffic violation. However, often the circumstances that lead to the traffic stop do not actually give the police the necessary “reasonable suspicion” to legally pull you over. In addition, even after a valid traffic stop, officers are only permitted to detain you for a short period, and they must have “probable cause” in order to make a DUI arrest.

If you were pulled over without reasonable suspicion, or if you were arrested for DUI without probable cause, The Law Offices of David Lehr can successfully fight your Ventura DUI.

Reasonable Suspicion for California Traffic Stops

With some important exceptions, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and California case law prohibit the police from pulling you over without some valid reason – called “reasonable suspicion” under the law. For the most part, when the police directly witness a vehicle code violation, such as speeding or running through a stop sign, they are permitted to stop you and issue a ticket for the violation. If the police identify evidence of other illegal conduct – such as DUI – following the stop, their reasonable suspicion to make the stop on other grounds also justifies them in making an arrest for the DUI. Once you are arrested, you face all possible DUI penalties, including fines, incarceration, driver’s license suspension, and probation in Oxnard, Camarillo and throughout Ventura County.

However, police officers often pull people over conduct that does not necessarily involve any vehicle code violation. For example, many people arrested for DUI in Ventura are stopped because the officer alleges they were weaving. But, the law permits police to stop a driver only for a pronounced pattern of weaving, with the car crossing from one lane into another repeatedly. It does not permit them to stop a driver solely for weaving within his or her own lane. Perhaps as a result, the police reports prepared in the average Ventura DUI arrest are often silent or vague on the extent of the weaving allegedly witnessed by the officer. Whenever our Ventura DUI attorney reads a police report where the reason for the stop is (minor, vague, or indistinct) weaving, we file a motion that forces the prosecution to prove that there was reasonable suspicion to justify the stop. If we are successful in challenging “reasonable suspicion,” then all of the evidence against you will be excluded and the prosecution will be forced to dismiss the case.

Probable Cause for Ventura DUI Arrests

In order to make a DUI arrest following a valid traffic stop in Ventura, the police must have “probable cause” to believe that you are guilty of DUI. Among the factors to be considered are:

  • The officer’s observations;
  • Your statements to the officer;
  • Your performance on the Field Sobriety Tests;
  • The results of any preliminary alcohol screening test; and
  • The length of time you were detained during the traffic stop.

When reviewing police reports in Ventura drunk driving cases, our Ventura DUI lawyer always analyzes whether the arrest was made with probable cause. If probable cause appears to be lacking, we will file a motion that forces the prosecution to prove that your arrest was lawful. If the prosecution cannot provide proof of probable cause, then all of the post-arrest evidence against you will be excluded, and the prosecution may be forced to dismiss your Ventura DUI case.

Contact an Experienced Ventura DUI Lawyer

For more information on lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause as a defense to a Ventura DUI charge, contact the Ventura DUI law firm of The Law Offices of David Lehr today.