What is a probable cause to arrest?

Maryland law enforcement has strict DUI patrols. If they suspect you of driving under the influence, you may be subject to DUI tests. This can include field sobriety tests, blood tests and breath tests.

But do you know what a probable cause to arrest is? Do you know how it impacts drivers who police suspect of DUI?


First, what is a probable cause to arrest? In relation to DUI crimes, it is a subjective sign of intoxication. Police can observe these signs with the naked eye. They do not have scientific backing. Instead, they rely on an officer’s individual judgment.


FieldSobrietyTests.org examines several probable causes to arrest. They include eye redness, slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol. These are all potential signs of driving under the influence. If an officer notices them and you have failed a field sobriety test, they have a probable cause to arrest.


But probable causes to arrest are subjective. There is no real way to prove these signs are the result of intoxication. For example, many people with allergies suffer from red eyes. Neurological disorders cause disruptions in the speech. Officers who have never heard a person talk before cannot tell if slurred speech is “normal” for them.


Studies prove that officers cannot determine levels of intoxication through smell alone. The smell of alcohol may indicate a victim had a drink. But it says nothing about their blood alcohol level. It is important to remember how subjective probable causes to arrest are. Anyone subjected to arrest for these reasons may lean on this in court.



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