A law enforcement officer has stopped your car. He exits his vehicle and asks you where you have been, adding that he noticed your car was weaving along the road. He suspects you of DUI. Soon you find yourself in field sobriety tests as the officer seeks to determine whether you are drunk.
There are many specific procedures that authorities must follow to ensure a proper arrest in DUI situations. If they fail to do so, they may see you walk away from the charge in court because of their bungled actions.
Probable Cause, Accurate Reports
For an air-tight criminal case, law enforcement must operate by specific protocol to secure a proper arrest and conviction. If they do not, they may see a DUI charge dismissed. Here are some examples in which an arresting officer fails to follow proper procedures in a DUI arrest:
- Ignoring probable cause: Reasonable suspicion is necessary for law enforcement to pull you over for DUI. Swerving and driving too slowly are examples of probable cause. However, an officer does not have probable cause to stop your vehicle merely based on your age, race or what type of vehicle you drive. Authorities must have a legitimate reason.
- Improper administration of breathalyzer: A law enforcement officer must be properly trained in operating this device. An unreliable blood alcohol content reading may result. The same holds true if the breathalyzer malfunctions.
- Sloppy, inaccurate and untruthful reports: Such situations are possible when a law enforcement officer includes fabricated information in a report. Perhaps the arresting officer wants to make an example of you, bending the truth along the way.
- Neglecting to read the Miranda rights after an arrest and subsequent interrogation: Law enforcement usually does not read the Miranda warning to someone arrested for DUI. However, those rights that protect people from self-incrimination and the right to hire an attorney must be read to individuals whom they arrested and are interrogating.
It works to your advantage if an arresting officer fails to follow proper procedure during a DUI arrest. However, continue to drive safely and abide by the traffic laws.