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DUI Vehicle Stops in Washington

A lawful vehicle stop is the same as a lawful arrest. A lawful arrest is one where the arresting officer has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed in their presence. “Probable cause” means facts that would cause a reasonably cautious officer to believe that the person had committed that crime. In determining whether the facts known to the officer justified that belief, the officer’s experience and expertise come in to play.

These stops can also occur on the basis of another violation. If the person runs a stop sign, drives in excess of the speed limit, causes an accident on the road, or any of a myriad of other offenses in the observation of the offer, then the officer has cause to pull them over. During the traffic stop, the offer may notice other evidence that the person is driving under the influence. After being stopped, if the officer finds evidence that another offense is occurring, then the officer has the ability to administer tests that the other crime is also being committed in the officer’s presence.

Reasonable suspicion lies in the eyes of an officer. If the officer can show evidence and reasonable inferences that lead to the conclusion that the driver is driving under the influence, then the officer is justified in making a stop, and with more evidence making an arrest against the driver.


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