What is a probable cause to arrest?

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2020 | DUI

If an officer suspects a Pennsylvania resident of DUI, this is not enough reason to arrest them. They must have a probable cause to arrest before that. Today we will take a look at what makes a probable cause to arrest. 

FieldSobrietyTests.org takes a look at this question. According to them, objective circumstances determine a probable cause to arrest. It cannot be a hunch the officer has with nothing to back them up. In the case of DUI, examples of probable causes to arrest include: 

  • Slurred speech 
  • The smell of alcohol present on the driver’s breath 
  • Red eyes 

When these signs are present, it could be an sign that the driver is under the influence. These are signs of intoxication. But alone, they are not enough to make an arrest. This is because slurred speech and red eyes have many potential causes. For example, drivers with allergies may have red eyes. Drivers with speech impediments may slur. Not even the smell of alcohol is enough for a cause to arrest. This is because you cannot tell a person’s BAC level by smelling their breath. 

These signs are a probable cause to arrest when added to other DUI detection tool results. This can include breath tests, blood tests or field sobriety tests. Standardized field sobriety tests are often used together with the aforementioned signs. 

In the end, it is the court that decides if an officer had a probable cause to arrest. The judge examines the information provided to them. From that, they get the final say on whether probable cause existed.