An officer must have “probable cause” to make a legal arrest for DUI in Virginia. Although probable cause is not as stringent as “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” it is necessary for an officer to convincingly prove he or she had probable cause.
The experienced DUI attorneys at The Gordon Law Firm have represented more than 300 people for various DUI charges over the last five years. Of those we have represented, nearly 70% avoided a DUI conviction. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, we will thoroughly investigate every detail of your case, including whether the officer had probable cause, and fight aggressively to protect your best interests.
What Constitutes Probable Cause in Virginia?
Probable cause essentially means that the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you are legally impaired. In the case of a traffic stop, behavior that may constitute probable cause includes:
- Improper signaling, stopping for no apparent reason, driving without headlights, or other types of vigilance errors
- Driving too fast, too slow, or making improper changes in speed
- Drifting, weaving, swerving, or otherwise having difficulty staying in the correct lane
- Demonstrating poor judgment through actions such as arguing with another driver, tailgating, or stopping improperly in response to a police signal
Once you’ve been pulled over by a police officer, probable cause that you’ve been drinking may be demonstrated by:
- The smell of alcohol on your breath
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot or glassy eyes
- Verbal admission of intoxication
- Failing a preliminary breath test
- Failing field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn, or the horizontal gaze nystagmus test
Under Virginia law, DUI checkpoints are permissible, but only if they meet strict criteria. Checkpoints must be publicized in advance, and police are not allowed to stop every vehicle that passes. They must wait for a driver to demonstrate probable cause, or use a mathematical formula to determine who gets pulled over.
Contact Our Virginia DUI Lawyers Today
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Virginia, you need an experienced law firm you can trust to protect your rights. Call The Gordon Law Firm today at 703-218-8416 to arrange a free consultation. We serve clients in Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, and Prince William County in Virginia.