Georgia Probable Cause
Under our Constitution’s 4 th amendment, police officers cannot search a person and/or their property or seize them and/or their property without probable cause. This amendment also protects our freedoms and ensures we don’t have an invasion of privacy.
When you are stopped by police for driving under the influence, the officer that pulled your vehicle over must have had probable cause to stop you. This means that the officer must have observed you doing something to break the law. For example, the officer cannot stop you based on prejudice because of your race.
If the officer did not have probable cause to stop you, this can be grounds for your DUI case to be dismissed in court. However, if the officer stopped you based on a broken taillight, he or she must have observed signs of drinking and driving (smell of alcohol, seeing alcohol beverages open in car) before they can start the DUI investigation process.
In other words, the officer cannot give you a hard time simply because they are in a bad mood or don’t like the way you look.
How can police officers determine if there is probable cause?
Police officers are trained in the different areas of probable cause. First, they may observe a person doing something that is illegal. If the officer saw alcoholic beverages, smelt alcohol coming from the car or heard slurred speech, this is probable cause to start a DUI investigation.
Police officers sometimes receive information from sources that they may deem reliable. For example, witnesses, a news conference or information they may receive on a scanner can be grounds for probable cause.
If there is circumstantial evidence, police have probable cause to start a DUI investigation. One example might be that you were involved in a hit and run accident. A witness called police and described your vehicle and license plate number. It was then discovered that your vehicle was in an accident. While police did not observe the accident, they have probable cause that you were in the accident.
Of course, probable cause can also be brought about based on an officer’s expertise. If the officer involved in your DUI case did not have probable cause, the Webb Law Firm will find out!