When someone is arrested for DUI in Athens, their friends and family all want to tell them how to handle it. Either they’ve dealt with it personally or they know someone who has. One of the first things they’ll tell you is that the cops didn’t have probably cause to stop you. Or they’ll tell you the cops had no right to have you take a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test. And, while there are times when this may be the case, it happens a lot less often than you may think.
A cop in Georgia doesn’t need a whole lot for it to be considered probable cause. In fact, the police are allowed to pull anyone over who appears to be a threat to public safety or violating a traffic law. It’s a very low threshold.
If you’ve been pulled over and subsequently arrested for DUI in Athens, Georgia, you need a lot more than armchair legal advice. You need to meet with an experienced DUI lawyer in Athens right away. There is a lot at stake, such as your freedom. If charged and convicted of DUI, you could be facing jail time. You’ll also have to pay thousands of dollars in fine. Don’t leave it to chance. And don’t assume the cops didn’t have the right to stop you. If that is your only defense, you’re in trouble.
Your Athens DUI Lawyer Will Check to See if the Cops Had Reasonable Suspicion to Stop You
It may not be what you want to hear. But, officers in Georgia don’t need a lot to show reasonable suspicion to pull you over. The cops are required to stop anyone who either violates a traffic law or poses a threat to human safety. If it appears that you are impaired, the cops have every right to pull you over.
Some of the bases for reasonable cause to pull you over include the following:
- Traffic violation – If you are driving faster than the posted speed limit or making illegal turns, the cops have every right to pull you over. The same goes for any other traffic violation. Once the cops pull you over, they’ll check to see if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If they believe you are, they’ll ask you to perform a field sobriety test.
- Poor Driving – Sometimes, a driver just isn’t driving safely. Maybe you’re weaving in and out of your lane. Or perhaps you’re driving too cautiously or a lot slower than the flow of traffic. If so, the police are allowed to perform a traffic stop.
- Observations – Law enforcement spend years learning how to spot a drunk or impaired driver. Not much gets past them. If they see something that raises their suspicion, they’re liable to pull you over for a traffic stop.
If you try to challenge reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop, you better have some solid evidence of wrongdoing. The courts give the cops great deference when it comes to the police doing their job.
The Field Sobriety Test is Crucial in Establishing Probable Cause
Once the police officer pulls you over, they’ll check to see if you seem drunk or under the influence of drugs. Some of the things that will cause them to believe you’re DUI include:
- Odor of alcohol or marijuana
- Bloodshot eyes
- Profuse sweating
- Nervous behavior
- Slurred speech
- Open containers in plain view
Any of these things alone can justify the police asking you to perform a field sobriety test. If you don’t perform well in this test, the cops will have probably cause to request other tests. For example, if you can’t perform the basic FST, they’ll ask you to take a breathalyzer.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Athens, Georgia
If you or your loved one is charged with DUI, you need to call an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Athens. They’ll review your case and determine if the cops had reasonable suspicion to pull you over. They can also check to see if the officers had probably cause to arrest you for DUI.
If you’re convicted of DUI, you’ll be facing jail time and heavy fines. It’s in your best interest to have an experienced lawyer represent you. They’ll work hard to negotiate with the prosecutor. They’ll do what they can to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
There’s too much at stake for you to handle this on your own. Call Athens DUI Lawyers and schedule your initial consultation today.