Washington DUI Probable Cause

Former White House correspondent and New Anchor Sam Donaldson’s Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge was dismissed this past Friday. News sources report the judge dismissed after determining the police officer lacked probable cause to arrest him.

What does probable cause to arrest mean in Washington State?

Probable cause is a fairly low standard, however requires the police officer to have more than a bar suspicion before executing an arrest. for DUI.  The judge should specifically analyze the case upon the totality of facts and circumstances that the officer knew before making the DUI arrest.

To have probable cause to make the DUI arrest the police officer must have believed and had good reason to believe that a person has committed the crime of driving under the influence in the State of Washington. The good reason and belief must based on circumstances sufficiently strong to warrant an officer of ordinary caution to believe the person was actually driving under the influence.

When a Washington Judge considers if there was adequate probable cause for an arrest, the judge will often consider the testimony of the officer. That testimony may include:

The driving patter

The initial contact with the driver

Officers testimony of the way to DUI suspect speaks, smells and looks

The way the person exits the vehicle

The performance of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, and

The result of the PBT test (roadside breath test)

Remember, the field sobriety test and PBT are voluntary in the State of Washington and it is likely a good idea to avoid participate in them.  If you have any other questions about probable cause or anything DUI please contact me.

About Joseph Rome

Joseph Rome has written 33 post in this blog.

Joseph completed his undergraduate education at Washington State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1999. Mr Rome received his Juris Doctorate degree from Western New England College School of Law in 2005. Connect with me on Google+ and LinkedIn