DWI and Probable Cause

What probable cause is and what it means to DWI cases are discussed by Clarke Dummit.

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Understanding Probable Cause in DWI Stops

Throughout this video, we’ve touched on the term probable cause. Let’s explain probable cause, or probable cause to arrest.

We’ve discussed that the court has to have reasonable suspicion before an officer can pull you over. Because out on the road, that’s minimal detention – you’ve only been detained briefly and they only have a lower level. When they want to arrest you, they have to have probable cause. That’s a legal term that’s more than articulable suspicion, but less than beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s the middle road, and a hurdle the state has to get over.

The officer has to establish its more likely than not that you’re impaired before you can be arrested. Typically, they will look at your driving – such as weaving – which can add to probable cause. However, many DWIs involve being pulled over for speeding or being stopped at a check point, and in those cases, driving doesn’t count against you. So driving can count, but they will typically run you through field sobriety tests to establish that they have enough to arrest you.

You mentioned field sobriety tests and a colleague will discuss this more.

Yes, Mike Fradin and our team has gone through NHTSA training, the organization that certifies police to perform FSTs. If these tests aren’t administered according to an exact standard, they’re not scientifically reliable. Mr. Fradin’s been through the training and has extensive insight on that subject.

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