Probable Cause for a Florida DUI Arrest
Probable cause is the standard for a Florida DUI arrest. For an officer to arrest you they can combine all of their (including fellow officers) evidence and observations and if it amounts to probable cause the arrest is lawful. If the arrest is not lawful then anything obtained from the arrest would be tainted and inadmissible as evidence. Most important in a DUI case is the breath test or breath test refusal. Reasonable suspicion is a much lower standard than probable cause. Probable cause has been defined as "a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime" or "a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautios person's belief that certain facts are probably true".
Florida DUI Probable Cause “Probable cause to arrest exists when the totality of the facts and circumstances within the officer's knowledge would cause a reasonable person to believe that an offense has been committed and that the defendant is the one who committed it.” Revels v. State, 666 So.2d 213, 215 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995).
Evidence admitted at initial suppression hearing and subsequent rehearing failed to establish probable cause to arrest, or even reasonable suspicion to detain petitioner for driving under the influence (DUI); admissible evidence showed only that petitioner was standing near vehicle with another person after vehicle was involved in crash and appeared intoxicated, but not that he was the driver or had been in actual physical control of the vehicle. Skinner v. State, 31 So. 3d 940 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2010). probable cause sufficient to justify an arrest exists “where the facts and circumstances, as analyzed from the officer's knowledge, special training and practical experience, and of which he has reasonably trustworthy information, are sufficient in themselves for a reasonable man to reach the conclusion that an offense has been committed.” City of Jacksonville v. Alexander, 487 So.2d 1144, 1146 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986); see also, State v. Riehl, 504 So.2d 798, 800 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987) (“In order to establish the probable cause necessary to make a valid arrest, however, it is not necessary to eliminate all possible defenses. Furthermore, the facts constituting probable cause need not meet the standard of conclusiveness and probability required of the circumstantial facts upon which conviction must be based.”).6 Probable cause is often a conclusion drawn from reasonable inferences. State v. Cote, 547 So.2d 993, 995 (Fla. 4th DCA 1989). Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles v. Favino, 667 So. 2d 305, 309 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1995).
Probable cause is a malleable standard that can be difficult to define. It allows for litigation and debate and depends a great deal on the parties involved. The officer’s testimony can greatly impact the court’s opinion on probable cause. What it comes down to is what a reasonably cautious person taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances would believe that the driver probably drove under the influence. If you are arrested for a DUI in Central Florida contact Central Florida DUI Attorney Kevin Pitts.
* Disclaimer: This summary was prepared by Criminal Defense Attorney and former prosecutor Kevin Pitts. It should be used as a reference only. Interested parties should refer to the full text of the law before drawing legal conclusions. This is not legal advice and if you have hired an attorney you should follow their advice in resolving your Florida DUI case.
Probable Cause for a DUI Arrest in Florida