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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default What is Probable Cause for a DUI Traffic Stop

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Pennsylvania

    I can keep this short and sweet. I turned into a neighborhood to pick up a friend. As I pull in, I see the police cruiser follow me and "black out" his vehicle. Then I continued out of the neighborhood, and drove on a main road until the cop left. Now my friend was late, so I had a reason to leave the neighborhood. I then returned to the area, and turn back into the neighborhood through the same entrance. Then I came to a complete stop at the stop sign, and as i continue through the stop sign he turns his lights on and pulls me over. This all ended up with me getting a BAC at the hospital, and popping positive for weed. Did this officer have probable cause? I also have a copy of the Affidavit, but would that be to personal to share?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Dui: is There Probable Cause

    What was the reason the officer pulled you over? If you committed a traffic violation in his presence, that is all the PC he needs to stop you and make contact. From there, it's a matter of what he observed (or smelled) to get you the dui and weed charge.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Tacoma, WA

    Default Re: Dui: is There Probable Cause

    A police officer needs probable cause to make an arrest. But, reasonable suspicion is all that is needed to justify a traffic stop. Reasonable suspicion is a distinctly lower standard than probable cause. Probable cause requires circumstances that would lead a reasonable person (with the same knowledge, training, and experience of the cop) to conclude that it is more likely than not that you have committed a specific criminal offense. All that is needed for reasonable suspicion is circumstances and/or behavior that would cause any reasonable person (again ,having the same knowledge, training, and experience of the police officer) to say, “Hmmm…I suspect that dude over there is doing {insert criminal activity here…can be anything from littering to murder}.”

    Here, you admit that you drove into a neighborhood, but left the area after spotting a cop (and without showing any apparent legitimate reason for being there to begin with). Then, after behavior that sure made it look like you were intentionally trying to elude the cop, you return to the same area. By itself, IMO, that is not enough to establish reasonable suspicion…but, it’s close. Add just one more factor into the mix (recent burglaries in the area, area known for drug activity, area known for underage drinking, etc.) and it’s enough for a stop. Of course, ANY traffic infraction justifies a traffic stop.

    So, what did the cop say in his report was the reason for the stop?
    Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.

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