Many people have the feeling that it can be hard to question why the police charged them with a DUI. While the court offers a great deal of deference to the word of a cop, the reality is that you do have the right to raise questions about why you've been accused of driving under the influence. Let's look at how a DUI attorney would break a case up into its distinct pieces.

The Officer's Affidavit

At the core of most cases is an affidavit the arresting officer is required to file before a case goes in front of a judge. This document explains what the events were leading up to a traffic stop, why the motorist was suspected of being intoxicated and how the officer went about proving this was the case. It should also include things like radar gun readings, information about the equipment used to test for intoxication and how a field sobriety test was administered.

Original Cause for the Stop

The simplest DUI defense is that the police had no reason for pulling you over in the first place. When the cops conduct a traffic stop, they have to see something that justifies it. This can be as basic as a tail light being out, going over the center line multiple times or failing to signal.

Notably, the police officer has to prove they could see what they claimed to have seen. This means you can seek disclosure of things like dashcam videos from the police cruiser. The video may show, for example, that it was impossible for the officer to have ascertained your speed accurately just by following you.

Probable Cause

In addition to having cause for a stop, an officer also has to demonstrate that they ascertained reasonable suspicion of offense while using methods that were limited in scope. Reasonable suspicion is the first rung of a ladder that heads toward probable cause and eventually being charged. When a cop hears that a driver was repeatedly slurring their speech, for example, that speaks to probable cause and allows conducting a field sobriety test.


Scope is a bigger deal than many people realize. The police can't, for example, detain you for half an hour waiting for you to slip up and slur a word. If after a few minutes they didn't find anything, they have to let you go. Failing to do so can vacate a later conviction because the police spent too much time fishing for reasonable suspicion.

Contact a local DUI attorney to learn more today.