Drunk driving charges are a serious matter that can result in significant consequences, especially if the motorist who is facing scrutiny is convicted. Sentences for a conviction often include fines, imprisonment, court-ordered programs, ignition interlock requirements and driver’s license suspension.
Understanding the intricacies of such charges is essential, especially considering how they can impact one’s life and freedom long after a criminal case is completed. If you’re facing impaired driving charges, treating your situation with the seriousness that it deserves can make all the difference for your future.
Reasonable suspicion for traffic stops
Law enforcement officers must have a reasonable suspicion that a law has been broken to initiate a traffic stop. Officers need specific and articulable facts, such as observing a driver swerving, to justify the stop. Reasonable suspicion can be based on various observations, such as erratic driving, violating traffic laws or displaying signs of impairment. This is a lower standard than probable cause and is subject to interpretation.
Chemical testing to determine impairment
Chemical testing involves testing blood alcohol content through breath, blood or urine tests. Refusing these tests post-arrest can lead to penalties, including license suspension, even if the person isn’t found to be impaired. The accuracy and administration of these tests are often central issues in drunk driving cases. The results of these tests may be used to establish whether a driver was legally impaired at the stop.
Probable cause for an arrest
Probable cause is necessary for an arrest in a drunk driving case. This means that the arresting officer must have facts and circumstances that the individual has committed the offense of drunk driving. Probable cause can be established based on the officer’s observations, standardized field sobriety tests and the results of chemical tests. The standard for probable cause is higher than for reasonable suspicion.
Building a defense against these charges may involve several approaches. Seeking legal guidance can help someone who has been accused of wrongdoing to tailor a defense strategy to their unique circumstances to better ensure a favorable outcome.