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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    11

    Default DUI - Probable Cause or No

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Washington

    I have been charged with DUI under interesting circumstances. I left a bar, pulled across the street and over one parking lot, and stopped my car in a safe place and began putting an address into my GPS. An officer came up behind me (no lights) approached my car and began asking me questions. I told him I had not been drinking. He claims he smelled alcohol and I was slurring my speech. He began a DUI investigation and ultimately arrested me. He told me at least 3 times on the ride that the reason he contacted me is because I was messing with my GPS.

    He contradicted himself in the police report though: He claims that I drove "1/2 block at a high rate of speed" - although I had only pulled across the street - slowly. The contradiction comes when he admits that he DID NOT perform a traffic stop - no lights until after he started DUI investigation. If I was driving erratically, why did he not perform a traffic stop? And why did he lie about how far I had driven and "weaved left, then right" - which is exactly what a car does when pulling across a street to an adjacent parking lot. I drove about one car length (not 1/2 block) before entering the other lot, and that's simple to prove from the satellite map.

    Do I have a case to argue probable cause especially if it's shown that his descriptions of my driving were fabricated in order to try and bolster probable cause?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: DUI - Probable Cause or No

    YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY!

    A lawful traffic stop has to be for some reason, and when the police car lights, etc. are turned on the dashboard video camera starts running. He will be hard pressed to explain why there is no video of your vehicle moving and him pulling you over.

    You need to check state law. Generally, these days, if you are behind the wheel, parked, you can still be arrested for DUI. If the car is not running and the keys are not in the ignition it is possible you can't be arrested.

    If that is the case in your state, that would be my position. Without video of you driving and being pulled over, the state has no proof.

    Did you take a legal breath test at a hospital or police station?

    In court, the state goes first. If you can prove that the police officer is lying, you might win. You need an attorney to challenge the probable cause for the stop and subsequent arrest. You can also testify that the car was not running, the keys were not in the ignition, and you were merely using your GPS.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,170

    Default Re: DUI - Probable Cause or No

    Let me begin by saying this is what I understand can be a way to prove aa DUI charge telling you what I know. In order for an officer to charge you with a DUI which enables him to require you to submit to a alcohol test
    I will tell you that in some states, and for you to get arrested for a DUI does not necessarily require that you be caught driving. If the officer can somehow show that you had intended on driving, that gives him probable cause to detain you and to perform a sobriety check and/or an alcohol level test.

    In your case, there is a pretty good chance that he did in fact see you driving. So even though you were just sitting in your car when he initially approached you, you were in fact sitting in the driver's seat, keys in the ignition, (I don't know if the engine was runnign or not), messing with your GPS trying to enter a destination address. That shows that you had intended on driving while intoxicated which in turn gave him the probable casue that he needs to conduct an investigation during which he was able to find reasonable cause to perform a sobriety check m which I assume you failed.... from there you were arrested, taken in, at which point (I am surre) he also perfromed an alcohol level test, which I can guess showed higher than the legal limit.

    Quote Quoting partenr
    View Post
    The contradiction comes when he admits that he DID NOT perform a traffic stop - no lights until after he started DUI investigation.
    What gives you the impression that he has to have his lights on to perform an investigation. The way I look at it is this... An officer turns onhis light at the onset of a traffic stop so as to notify the driver that he must pull over in a safe location so that the officer can perform an investigation, isssue a citation, give a warning... etc. So the way I see it, he is not admitting that he DID NOT perform a traffic stop; he is merely stating a fact.

    QUOTE=partenr;314636]If I was driving erratically, why did he not perform a traffic stop?[/QUOTE]
    You were driving erattically (and by your own admission, you were stopped. So why would he need to "perform a traffic stop"?

    QUOTE=partenr;314636]Do I have a case to argue probable cause especially if it's shown that his descriptions of my driving were fabricated in order to try and bolster probable cause?[/QUOTE]
    Here's a point you might be missing... If he witnessed you leaving the bar, getting in your car, driving for however short of a distance it was... THAT, in and of itself, is enough probable cause.

    With that being established, the description of how you were driving is not only irrelevent, it carries no weight towards proving you guilt or innocence.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: DUI - Probable Cause or No

    Quote Quoting partenr
    View Post
    I have been charged with DUI under interesting circumstances. I left a bar, pulled across the street and over one parking lot, and stopped my car in a safe place and began putting an address into my GPS. An officer came up behind me (no lights) approached my car and began asking me questions.
    So, after you had already driven from the bar, the officer made contact with you in a non-detention setting.

    I told him I had not been drinking. He claims he smelled alcohol and I was slurring my speech.
    So, you lied and he KNEW you had lied. NOW, the officer had reasonable suspicion to detain you for further investigation.

    He began a DUI investigation and ultimately arrested me. He told me at least 3 times on the ride that the reason he contacted me is because I was messing with my GPS.
    Heck, given the circumstances, he did not need a reason to contact you. He walked up without his lights, and he came to YOU. Had he ordered you to stop or step out of the car at the time of contact, that would be a detention. Walking to your window and asking what's up is a consensual contact. Once he smelled the alcohol and you were behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, a detention and a DUI investigation was appropriate.

    He claims that I drove "1/2 block at a high rate of speed" - although I had only pulled across the street - slowly.
    Your attorney is free to try and bring this up as an issue of credibility at court.

    The contradiction comes when he admits that he DID NOT perform a traffic stop - no lights until after he started DUI investigation. If I was driving erratically, why did he not perform a traffic stop?
    Because by the time he got up to you, you were already stopped, perhaps?

    Do I have a case to argue probable cause especially if it's shown that his descriptions of my driving were fabricated in order to try and bolster probable cause?
    You can raise it as an issue of credibility, but he did not need "probable cause" to detain you, only "reasonable suspicion". Further, he did not apparently detain you upon contact and it was not until he noted the alcohol that he detained you for further investigation.

    - Carl
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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