Probable Cause To Believe Accused Operated While Intoxicated

DWI & Refusal Lawyers With A History of Success

A fundamental element of the prosecutor’s refusal case involves a showing that there was probable cause to believe that the accused was intoxicated. The rationale for this requirement is somewhat logical as police should not be permitted to ask individuals to take a breath test indiscriminately. Indeed, if the situation was otherwise, individuals could be requested to submit to a breathalyzer anytime they were stopped. Notwithstanding this prerequisite, we handle numerous cases every year where the existence of probable cause of intoxication is, at a minimum, certainly in dispute—such that we can make considerable headway in righting a refusal charge. If you feel you may be involved in a case where the police did not have proper basis to ask you to submit a breath sample, give our lawyers a call at 877-450-8301. An experienced DWI attorney on our defense team would be more than happy to review your case free of charge and tell you how we can help.

How Is Probable Cause of Intoxication Defined?

There are three (3) separate elements contemplated under the law in order for probable cause of intoxication to be established. The elements are:

  1. Accused was Driving or In Control of a Motor Vehicle;
  2. Incident was on a Public or Quasi-Public Roadway; and
  3. Reasonable Basis to Believe that the Accused Was Under the Influence of Alcohol, Narcotics, Drugs and/or Marijuana.

Whether the police made a mistake involves a proper showing that all three of these elements are present. Perhaps there isn’t enough evidence to establish operation and/or an intention to operate. There are also those cases where, although operation may be established, the incident occurred exclusively on private property. While operation on private property is enough to properly charge someone with a DWI, it is not valid insofar as it concerns a refusal offense. And probably the largest segment of questionable breathalyzer refusals arise when it comes to establishing reasonable basis to believe someone is intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. This is where knowledge of field sobriety testing comes in handy. You would not believe just how many police officers lack knowledge of exactly what a proper standardized field test is and, even when they do, they are often in error when it comes to scoring the test (i.e. identifying clues). In other words, often police officers request individuals to perform tests that are totally invalid and, even when they administer the proper tests, they score them improperly.

If you think probable cause was lacking in your refusal case, give us a call. Lawyers on our staff are available 24/7 to assist you and initial consultations are free of charge. An attorney is ready to assist you now at 877-450-8301.