Denver Drunk Driving Arrest: The Need for Probable Cause


Denver Drunk Driving Arrest | If a Denver police officer seeks to arrest you for drunk driving, he/she must first obtain probable cause to do so. Probable Cause means that a person is about to commit, in the process of committing, or has committed a crime. Police officers use field sobriety tests and/or roadside breath test to establish probable cause during a traffic stop. The physical evidence gathered from the tests allow the police officer to take a person into custody to conduct further testing at the local station. Read on to learn more about how police officers establish probable cause to arrest Denver and Boulder residents for drunk driving. Contact our Denver DUI Attorney for a free criminal defense consultation.

Initial Traffic Stop
Prior to ascertaining probable cause to make an arrest, a police officer will first pull a driver over for violating a traffic ordinance. For example, say a person was speeding and switching lanes without using any signals. The police officer would pull the driver over to cite him/her and possibly conduct an investigation into his/her conduct.

Now, a police officer is trained to inspect the external/internal contents of a vehicle including the driver. The police officer will look for signs of intoxication if he/she believes the driver may be impaired. Such signs consists of bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol. Based on such signs, the officer may ask a series of questions to determine if the driver may have consumed any alcohol. Depending on the driver’s responses, the police officer may request for the driver to step out of his/her vehicle and perform a series of field sobriety tests.

Field Sobriety Tests
As mentioned above, Colorado and Denver police officers use field sobriety tests to determine if a driver is impaired. There are three standardized field sobriety tests commonly used to measure levels of intoxication:

The Walk-and-Turn Test

One-Leg Stand Test

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

Denver Drunk Driving Arrest: The Need for Probable Cause

The police officer is trained to look for indicators of impairment while a driver is performing the tests. For example, if the driver is unable to walk-and-turn heel-to-toe, or cannot manage to stand on one leg, such indicators suggest he/she is impaired. If a driver fails say 2 out of 3 test indicators, the police officer will have probable cause to take him/her into custody for further investigation at the station.

In addition to the field sobriety tests, the police officer may request for the driver to take a roadside breath test. If the driver’s blood alcohol content is above the legal limit, the police officer will have probable cause to arrest the driver. At the police station, more testing will occur. The driver may have to undergo an urine, blood, or breath test. If the results of these test show that the driver is intoxicated, he/she will be charged with drunk driving.

Hire A Denver DUI Attorney
If you or a loved one has recently been charged with drunk driving in the Colorado or Denver area, contact us to speak with a Colorado DUI Attorney. Our DUI Attorneys can review Denver Drunk Driving Arrest case and provide you with possible defenses to challenge the officer’s probable cause. If successful, the evidence gathered during the initial interrogation will be deemed inadmissible to present at trial.

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Denver Drunk Driving Arrest

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