Many people think that driving while under the influence (DUI) charges are always well deserved and that a person accused of a DUI is automatically guilty of the crime. Thankfully, that’s not the way our criminal justice system works, as many DUI charges are subjective in nature. In this blog post, First Coast Criminal Defense exposes the subjectivity of some DUI charges.
The Subjectivity of Probable Cause for DUI in Florida
You probably know that a police officer must establish probable cause to pull someone over, but did you also know that an officer must establish probable cause to test someone for drunk driving? While Florida drivers automatically consent (referred to as "implied consent") to take sobriety tests by owning a driver’s license, a cop still needs to establish a reason to test someone’s blood-alcohol content (BAC).
Therefore, a cop’s personal understanding of the situation at hand often determines if he or she will test someone’s BAC. This fact makes some DUI charges subjective because a cop’s probable cause determination to test someone’s BAC is, at times, subjective.
The Subjectivity of the Senses for DUI
Cops use their senses to determine if they should test someone’s BAC.
The following are examples of when a cop uses one of his senses to determine if a driver is drunk:
- “Your eyes look bloodshot.” (seeing);
- “Your car smells like booze.” (smelling); and
- “Your speech is slurred.” (hearing).
Each of these statements may or may not be true given the circumstances of the traffic stop; however, each one is subjective in nature. Cops are only human, so like everyone else, they sometimes see, hear, and smell things that don’t exist. Therefore, DUI charges are sometimes subjective because the senses can sometimes fail.
A DUI Attorney Can Help Your Case
If you or a loved one is charged with a DUI, don’t panic! As we’ve seen, DUI charges can be subjective, so hiring an experienced DUI attorney for your case is always a smart choice.