The U.S. and New Mexico state constitutions grant individuals certain rights and freedoms. Rights and freedoms may be suspended during the course of or as a result of due process. However, in order for these rights to lawfully be suspended, probable cause must exist.
Legal Definition of Probable Cause
In legal terms, probable cause “is a level of reasonable belief, based on facts that can be articulated, that is required […] to arrest and prosecute a person in criminal court.” In other words, probable cause is evidence-based. A law enforcement officer’s “hunch” or “sense” is not sufficient to have probable cause to make a DWI stop or search a vehicle. (In some cases, a law enforcement officer’s hunch may not constitute reasonable suspicion, either.)
How Probable Cause Relates to DWI Arrests
In order to be lawfully arrested for drunk driving, probable cause must exist. Evidence that may demonstrate probable cause include:
- Poor performance on a field sobriety test
- BAC level of .08 or higher (.04 or higher for a commercial driver)
- Refusal to comply with BAC testing
This evidence must be collected using lawful methods, and tests must be administered properly.
DWI Criminal Defense
Whether or not probable cause existed in your case is vital to your DWI defense. If no probable cause existed, your Fourth Amendment rights may have been violated, and any evidence collected cannot be used against you. However, you need the legal expertise of a seasoned criminal defense attorney to investigate the circumstances of your arrest to determine if probable cause existed or not.
The attorneys at Patrick J. Martinez & Associates have more than 20 years of experience focused on DWI defense. We understand what conditions must be present in order for probable cause to have existed. We know how to build strong cases in your defense and fight to protect you from the repercussions of civil rights violations.
Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation at our Albuquerque, NM office. When you retain us for criminal defense, we provide representation at all administrative hearings at no additional charge.