Police frequently make arrests. Some may be genuine while others occur unlawfully. If you are a victim of a driving under the influence arrest, Vista DUI Attorney Law Firm can help increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome in your prosecution. This could be achieved by analyzing your case to see the basis of your DUI arrest; if the police made any of the following common policing errors in your DUI stop, the arrest might be illegal and used as your defense.
Stopping a Driver/Motorist with No Likely Cause
Under PEN 836, police officers are supposed to stop you or make any DUI arrest only with enough probable cause. Mere suspicions such as coming from a direction with a significantly large number of bars and running or evading stop signs can be “enough probable cause” under the law. If you doubt the reason for your arrest, you may challenge the validity of the arrest or DUI stop, and your case might be dismissed altogether.
An exception, however, is given where the stop took place at legal checkpoints where DUI officers execute their duties. Generally, at these points, the officer is allowed by the law to conduct checks even without any reasonable suspicion.
Issuing a Field Sobriety Test Without any Probable Cause
The police can perform any field sobriety test after having a reasonable cause that you are driving under the influence. Some indicators that you are drunk-driving include operating in a swaying or unsteady manner or if you knock down stationery items on the roads. However, these signs are not sufficient for the police to arrest you on claims that you were driving under the influence. The cops should go an extra mile and look at some other signs upon stopping you. Such signs include slurred speech, alcohol smell, or even red eyes.
The officers can also create sufficient cause of suspicion if they see open and used alcohol containers in your car. However, before looking at the signs, the police officers usually ask drivers routinely if they have been consuming or have consumed alcohol. Any slight acceptance that you have been using alcohol will serve as a probable cause for further investigations. Attorneys understand the circumstances of performing any sobriety test. They also know the right procedure for such processes. So you need to contact an attorney immediately if you are arrested so that they can analyze your case and spot any mistake based on the field tests.
Failing to Read Miranda Rights to the Motorist Before Arrests
According to the DUI laws, Miranda rights should be read to you before a seizure. The Miranda rights give you an option to remain silent, employ an attorney, or look for a public defender to represent you in case you cannot hire an attorney. If the arresting officer doesn’t read out these rights, you can contest the evidence.
There are circumstances when the motorists make implicating statements or admit that they were driving under the influence. The comments may not be used as evidence against you, especially if the Miranda rights were not read to you during the arrest.
Moreover, Miranda rights may have been read to you, but the police did not allow you to make a choice. For instance, maybe you wanted to remain silent or be allowed an opportunity to look for an attorney. If the police fail to give the options and go ahead into further interrogation, the law views it as illegal. It is expected that any further questioning stops after you have made your choice. As such, any incriminating statements beyond this limit is not taken as evidence.
Wrong Analysis and Interpretation of the Field Tests
Arresting officers usually conduct field sobriety tests to help them gauge the extent of your impairment. The tests are intended to examine the steadiness of your motor skills, body balance, and coordination. The results or judgment by the testing officer determines whether you will fail or pass the test.
However, there are possible errors when conducting such tests. Some of the mistakes may include:
- Insufficient lighting in the labs
- Presence of undetected medical condition during the tests
- Slippery or smooth road conditions
- Incorrect assessment of your coordination
- An incomprehensible written documents from the arresting officer contributed by poor wording
If such factors are detected, then your arrest could be unjustified.
Wrong Positive Results in Motorists Breath Tests
A breath test follows strict regulations in the state of California. The regulations are mostly because of hygiene reasons and manipulation of the results. Typically, if your blood alcohol levels are beyond the limit accepted by the California law, you are charged with DUI. Hence, it is necessary to get a legal representative who will scrutinize the results and the tests conducted to find out if there were errors.
There are circumstances under which some positives can be recorded erroneously leading to ‘false positive’ results. False positives commonly emanate from a contaminated breath sample, either in the instrument used for analysis or by other foods eaten or incorrect calibration of the testing device. Moreover, wrong positives may be as a result of inadequate or insufficient record keeping. For instance, during the test, the officer is required to observe you for at least fifteen minutes continuously.
Sometimes, you may have an unknown illness during the test that may impair the results. For example, diabetes and low carbohydrate levels coupled with high degree of proteins that may also alter the breath test results. It is scientifically proven that whenever the body has low carbohydrate levels, it burns its fat resulting in the production of ketones. The ketones are further converted into acetone, and if a breath test is conducted, the acetone present in the body will give similar results as alcohol.
Additionally, fasting can also impact the breath test results by giving wrong positives. During starvation, the body produces acetone which is often mistaken for alcohol by a Breathalyzer device.
The breath test can also hike due to residual alcohol in chemical products like toothpaste or consumed food. For example, if before the breath test, you had used mouthwash or cough syrup that has some alcohol elements in it, the test results are likely to be positive.
To avoid being convicted of driving under the influence resulting from wrong positive results, ensure you consult a DUI attorney. They will scrutinize the authenticity of the tests by questioning the whole process, and if the due process were not followed, you would be set free. They also determine if any underlying circumstances could have resulted in the wrong results.
Failing to Adhere to the Correct Procedure when Administering Breath Tests
There are specific rules and regulation that police or any Breath-test administering officer must observe. Failure to adhere to these rules may render all the DUI allegations null and void. First, the person conducting the tests must have proper and relevant training to administer any tests on a person. The health commissions in all states will scrutinize the officers to determine their authenticity in the field and then issue licenses.
Second, the breath device must be tried and tested by the quality standards commissions, under strict adherence to the laws.
Moreover, the equipment must be correctly calibrated. Typically, a legally accepted breath testing device should be re-graduated after fifteen times of usage or after every ten days. Also, while administering the tests, the officer in charge must ensure that proper records are kept.
It is also a requirement that the breath under testing comes from deep down the lungs. Therefore the officer in charge of the test administration must ensure that you squeeze the breath out of your lungs. Such a procedure ensures that the results are real and an accurate indicator of the alcohol levels in your body. If the officer in charge didn’t consider such a factor or even attempt to train you on how to pump out the air, you could dispute the results as inaccurate.
Hostile Treatment or Attitude from the Officers
Officers should conduct themselves in a friendly and professional manner. When stopping a driver, interrogating them, or carrying out any DUI test, they should do it with respect and integrity. However, some police officers may demean the motorist by using derogatory utterances and comments. Such harassment during police stops or arrests may result in anxiety in the driver and may lead to complications that may ultimately affect the results. Also, the test should be carried out in privacy and not in the open. Any officer that attempts to have the test in the full glare of the world should face discipline for violating the DUI stop regulations.
With that in mind, any suspected misconduct by the police or disrespect of your rights should be addressed to an attorney. From their experience, they will dispute the evidence, and perhaps, help in dismissing the allegations.
Stopping You While Not in Uniform or in a Marked Vehicle
With the rising rates of crimes, everybody fears being tricked or stopped by strangers. Likewise, if a police officer tries to stop a motorist while in civilian or in an unmarked vehicle, it would be difficult for the drivers to recognize them. Most of the time, motorists even try to confront un-uniformed officers who try to use force. In such circumstances, you can refute the results on the grounds of the police not being in uniform. Only uniformed police or those in a marked vehicle should undertake the DUI stop and arrests.
Copying and Pasting Reports from Previous Accounts
Police are required to work diligently especially when handling such sensitive cases that need proper evidence. There are situations when the police copy facts from an existing DUI case. Such issues stem from laziness, improper record keeping, and carelessness from the arresting officer. If you realize that the report presented does not match your situation, consult an experienced attorney to help unveil the false documentation and possibly have your case dismissed.
Drawing Blood Samples from the Suspect for BAC Tests Without a Warrant
Initially, the law could allow a police officer to draw blood from a motorist they suspect of driving under the influence for a BAC test even without a warrant. Such were the eras when obtaining a warrant would take a long time, making the alcohol levels to dissipate from the suspect's blood.
However, with the current state of technology, the police can acquire the warrant electronically in a faster and more comfortable way. Therefore, if you can substantiate a warrantless blood draw, then the evidence linking you to DUI will be dismissed from being part of your case. This option is, however, not very popular among most motorists due to the fear of needles. On the other hand, it is the best option because mostly, the records have to be kept for future reference, unlike the breath test that is instant.
What if I Defy Orders to Take a Chemical Test?
Typically, a DUI stop in California results to two tests namely PAS and the chemical test. PAS test is conducted before an arrest is made and involves a breath test. You can refuse to take the test only if you are above twenty-one (21) years and you are not under any driving probation. However, your refusal to take the test does not dismiss your arrest. Other factors can be used as evidence to guarantee your arrest.
A chemical test is usually administered after your arrest whenever a need be. Unlike the PAS test, you must take the test as any refusal will result in the charges and the penalties being enhanced. Furthermore, if you will be guilty of driving under the influence, the DMV will ultimately suspend your driving license mostly for a period not less than one (1) year. Hence, when required to take a chemical test, accept and be tested. However, a chemical test is not administered anyhow. Instead, it is given when the officer suspects that besides alcohol influence, you have used other forms of controlled drugs.
Between Breath Test and Blood Test, Which is Reliable for my DUI Test?
Most people wonder which DUI test type produces reliable results between the breath and blood tests. This depends on how the test was conducted, the state of the device, officer’s competency, the device’s calibration, among other factors. This means that to some extent, the results may be wrong or right. When arrested, it is the police’s role to decide which test to subject you to. As mentioned above, you can refuse to take some tests if you are above 21 and not under probation. Otherwise, you will have to take the test, either a breath or blood test when demanded; but always ensure the test chosen doesn’t affect you in any way.
A common factor that can force you not to have a specific test is health reasons. You should not take a breath test if you suffer from asthma, emphysema, or unconsciousness. In such a case, it is preferable to take a blood test.
Whatever method you choose, the results may or may not favor you. The chances depend on the existing conditions of a specific case and the attorney representing you. The main advantage of taking a breath test, however, is that the tested samples cannot be preserved or kept for future use. Therefore, if your attorney demands to have the results for accuracy confirmation, the officers may not be able to provide the results, thus, weakening the prosecutor’s evidence. Blood tests samples, on the contrary, can be preserved for future use, and as such, if the police had wrongly arrested you, the sample can serve as evidence.
What will an Attorney Do if I Notify Them of Erroneous Police Stop and Arrest?
Upon notification of a suspected erroneous DUI stop and arrests, our lawyers will go through the DUI processes to find out if all the steps or stages were followed correctly. They will also scrutinize the reports to find out the validity of the facts presented. The attorney’s work with accredited laboratory experts who will analyze the results until justice is served.
Moreover, the attorneys will be vigilant in discovering any violation of your rights during and after the arrests. In case any of your rights were violated, even in the smallest ways, our attorneys must find out and contest your detention. Therefore, whenever you are arrested, and you have a sound doubt that perhaps an error was committed, feel free to contact our attorneys and talk to them. It is also vital to understand the facts related to the DUI arrests so that in case you ever are stopped in suspicion of a DUI, you may be able to protect yourself against unfair jail terms or charges.
Find an Experienced DUI Attorney Near Me
Vista DUI Attorney has lawyers who are highly experienced in DUI cases. We are aware of errors that the police can commit during traffic stops and arrest. Whenever you or your dear ones face arrests that are linked to DUI, contact our Vista DUI Lawyer at 760-691-1540. We are available to serve clients throughout Vista, California, and the neighboring North County cities.