How Police Mistakes Can Get Your DUI Dismissed

by ShelbyW on January 3, 2013

  • Sharebar

Everyone knows that drinking and driving is a crime that no one should take the chance of committing. Most people take this lesson to heart as soon as they’re pulled over while under the influence, but at that point, it’s too late to avoid an arrest. The best that a person can hope for is that they learn their lesson and move on. There are, however, some instances where a DUI can be dismissed based solely on an officer’s error. This shouldn’t be looked at as a technicality; it should be viewed as a way to ensure police officers do their jobs correctly.

Illegal DUI Traffic Stop

Unfortunately, many people simply plead guilty to a DUI because they feel as if a failed breathalyzer test is basically a conviction in itself. What they don’t consider is the fact that they may have been pulled over illegally. There must be what is referred to as “specific and articulable facts” present. These are observable facts that give officers a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed.

If a person is swerving on the road, for instance, this may provide a reasonable suspicion that the driver is under the influence of alcohol. It’s not legal, however, for police officers to pull over a person simply for leaving a bar. Leaving an establishment that serves alcohol proves no fact, and thus, is not considered a specific or articulable fact. Keep in mind, however, that the U.S. Supreme Court has judged DUI checkpoints to be legal. Certain states, on the other hand, still outlaw these checkpoints.

Incorrect Administration of Field Sobriety Test

Just about everyone has seen examples of field sobriety tests on true police shows. This includes tests like the “follow this line” test (walk and turn) and the one-leg stand test. What most people don’t know, however, is the fact that there are specific guidelines set up by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) that must be followed when field sobriety tests are being administered.

One mistake officers often make is during the walk and turn test. Persons with a physical disability or who are fifty pounds overweight are not supposed to be given this test. Their physical condition would make it difficult to complete the test, so administering it to a person with these conditions will cause problems when trying to obtain a DUI conviction. There are several other mistakes that an officer can make during a field sobriety test as well, so it’s important for a person who is arrested for DUI to seek legal advice immediately.

Inaccurate and Incomplete Arrest Reports

Many police officers have the bad habit of not taking notes when they’re performing a stop. Since most officers fill out their arrest reports later, they often have to do so without any notes to remind them of exactly what happened. This can lead to inaccuracies in the report, and a good defense lawyer can use these inaccuracies to question an officer’s credibility and reliability at trial.

It’s absolutely vital to have an experienced lawyer when fighting a DUI charge, but if a person has yet to hire one, they should still seek out their arrest report to check for inaccuracies. Arrest and incident reports are usually kept at a county’s records bureau, but this may vary depending upon where a person lives. For example, if your case is in New Jersey, with a driver’s abstract and the court codes NJ has assigned, you can search for records online. Another option is to contact the local sheriff’s office to find out exactly where copies of arrest reports can be purchased.

The legal system is set up in such a way that every person, regardless of what they’re accused of, has the right to use the system for their defense. While some individuals may say that having DUI charges dismissed based on any of the aforementioned mistakes is a cop-out (excuse the pun), it is simply a method of ensuring officers handle their jobs correctly from there on out. Even if a person was intoxicated, if police officers aren’t held accountable when they do make these technical errors, it increases the likelihood that innocent people may go to jail in the future.

Legal researcher Shelby Warden writes articles to help keep the public aware of their rights. If you were arrested for DWI in New Jersey, the information at court codes NJ may help you along with your drivers abstract. A nationally recognized DWI attorney, Evan Levow, represented the lead defendant in a landmark DWI breath testing that set the standard for DWI defense and prosecution in New Jersey.

No related posts.

Previous post:

Next post: