If you have been arrested for a DUI or a DWI, then you may be extremely worried about the outcome once your case goes to trial. There are a wide variety of consequences and penalties that can arise from a DUI case that include license suspensions, fines, jail time, community service, and the installation of an ignition locking system on your vehicle. If you are starting to fret over the many difficulties that can arise from your legal troubles, then you need to hire an attorney right away. If your arrest was not handled legally, then you may be able to fight the charge. Keep reading to learn about the procedures and processes that should take place if a DUI is handled legally.
Pulled Over For Reasonable Suspicion
Before you were even arrested or charged with a crime, you were pulled over by a police officer. The police cannot simply pull you over for no reason though. To stop you, an officer must have some sort of reasonable suspicion that a law was broken. When it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol, there are several behaviors that can lead to this suspicion. Coming close to or driving over the yellow line, swerving, drifting between lanes, erratic braking and acceleration, and near accidents are actions that may lead to an officer pulling you over.
Unfortunately, reasonable suspicion just means that the police officer observed activity that he or she deemed as illegal or possibly illegal in nature. The factual standard for reasonable suspicion is quite low. However, there are some circumstances where you can argue that there was no possible suspicion and thus you were pulled over illegally. For example, if a police officer sat in his vehicle across the street from a busy local bar and then pulled you over as soon as you pulled out of the parking lot, then there simply was not enough time for you to act suspiciously.
You should understand that the reasonable suspicion rule does not apply when it comes to DUI checkpoints. Specifically, the Supreme Court has ruled that these checkpoints are legal and they can lead to a DUI if there is probable cause once you stop at the checkpoint.
Probable Cause And Arrest
While an officer can pull you over simply due to an observation, the law enforcement professional can only arrest you for DUI if there is probable cause to do so. Probable cause means that there is some evidence to suggest that you were most likely breaking that law and driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol. To find this evidence, the officer will first ask you to undergo a field sobriety test. This test must be one that is approved and considered legal. Specifically, the officer can only ask you to complete a task that a reasonable person should be able to complete while sober. For example, you may be asked to stand on one foot for 10 to 15 seconds. You should not be asked to jump up and down on one foot. Also, while you may be asked to recite the alphabet starting at the letter O, it is not reasonable to ask you to recite the alphabet backwards from Z to A.
An officer will ask you to complete a field sobriety test so that he or she can obtain reasonable cause evidence. However, the officer does not have to complete the test. If the test was not completed during your arrest though, then this means that there is far less evidence that you should have been arrested in the first place, and this can be used in your favor at court.
Breathalyzer and blood alcohol tests are taken after the field sobriety test. You should understand that you have the right to refuse the test, but as a vehicle operator, you have already given implied consent to the test. This means that you are breaking the law by refusing the test. This alone can have some pretty substantial consequences. However, it can reduce the probable cause for your arrest and may lead to reduced charges if a field sobriety test was not conducted or was done so improperly.
If you want to know more about the legal process and the proper protocols that must be followed when arrested for DUI, speak with an attorney, like one from Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC.Share
21 June 2017
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