Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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What is Probable Cause?

Probable cause is a legal standard that must be met in order for an arrest to be lawful.

Practically all DUI arrests are made without an arrest warrant.  The officer must have probable cause, based upon the totality of the circumstances, to believe that you were driving under the influence in order to arrest you for DUI.  This is a constitutional requirement.

If contacted by law enforcement, you should be polite and respectful, and provide the officer with any documents requested, i.e., driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.

Don’t answer any questions.  The officer may ask you: “Have you been drinking?  Where have you been drinking?  When did you finish your last drink?”

Just tell the officer that you would like to speak to an attorney before answering any questions.  That is better by far than to tell the officer that you haven’t consumed any alcohol when in fact you have.  If your breath test shows alcohol in your system, the prosecutor will surely use your denial to your disadvantage in court.

If you do not submit to the field sobriety tests, you have a better chance of getting your DUI charge dismissed, or reduced.  Just remember to be polite and respectful while asserting your rights.

Remember:  Even if you feel that the officer does not have the right to arrest you, remain calm and respectful.  Do not resist arrest.  Do not consent to a search of your car.  But always remain polite and respectful.  Don’t answer questions, and tell the officer that you wish to speak to an attorney before answering questions.

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