When law enforcement investigates a DUI and arrests a suspect, officers must obey certain rules to protect the suspect’s rights, lawfully gather evidence, and ensure the investigation is fair and transparent. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for police to go against the rules during DUI investigations—most often by mistake.
The most common police mistakes during a DUI investigation include:
- The police didn’t have reasonable suspicion – In order to arrest a person for drunk driving, the police must make a traffic stop. In order to pull you over, an officer must have evidence of a traffic violation (e.g. speeding, driving without your headlights on, or changing lanes without using your turn signals). If law enforcement doesn’t establish reasonable suspicion, any evidence obtained after the traffic stop cannot be used in court.
- The police didn’t properly administer field sobriety tests (FSTs)– The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created specific rules for police officers to follow when administering FSTs, such as clearly explaining the proper steps, ensuring the test is performed on level ground or considering factors that could impact the results (e.g. age, physical fitness, fatigue, etc.). When these tests are not properly administered, the results are most likely invalid.
- The police didn’t properly administer breath test – Law enforcement may also request you perform a breath test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). However, officers must follow strict rules. Not only are they required to ensure the testing device is calibrated, but they must also observe you for 15 or 20 minutes to ensure you do not burp, vomit, or consume anything. Any error made when administering the breath test means the results cannot be used against you.
- The police didn’t have probable cause – Officer must have enough evidence of drunk driving that any reasonable person would believe you’ve committed a crime. Without probable cause, any evidence collected after an arrest cannot be used in court.
If the police commit an error in your case, your criminal defense attorney could file a “motion to suppress” with the court before trial. If the judge grants this motion, the evidence gathered during the police investigation will be thrown out of court. Without important evidence to prove the prosecution’s case, your lawyer could attempt to dismiss the charges you face.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Murfreesboro, contact Joshua T. Crain, Attorneys at Law today at (615) 200-9409 and schedule a free consultation today.