Being accused of driving under the influence is a serious charge here in Washington, DC and it can lead to significant short term and long term consequences such as costly fines, license suspensions, and even jail time.
While some individuals may be justly charged with a DUI, there are common errors made by law enforcement officials on a regular basis which can negate a DUI charge.
Common Errors by Law Enforcement
1. You Were Improperly Stopped By the Police
The US Constitution states that the police cannot arbitrarily stop or pull over a private citizen without having “reasonable suspicion” before doing so. This means that you cannot be pulled over because the police officer had a “bad feeling” about you; there must be specific grounds where the police officer suspects or “knows” that you have done something wrong, such as:
- If you were speeding
- If you were swerving outside of your lane
- If you disobeyed a traffic law
Should the officer not have reasonable suspicion before pulling you over, any evidence acquired from that point on is inadmissible.
2. The Officer Did Not Follow Proper Protocol
There are specific protocols a police officer must follow when administering a field sobriety test. Should the officer not properly adhere to these procedures, any evidence gathered during the test can be suppressed (this includes if the officer was overly intimidating, disrespectful or showed inappropriate conduct towards you).
It is important to note that field sobriety tests are only one component of the district’s evidence of a DUI. These tests are not concrete proof that you are intoxicated.
3. The Officer Did Not Advise You of Your Rights
Our constitution also requires law enforcement officials to advise a suspect once he or she is officially “under arrest”. At that point the officer must immediately inform the suspect of their rights, also known as the Miranda warnings. If the Miranda warnings are not issued by the police, any evidence gathered after that point (i.e. biological evidence, field sobriety tests, statements, etc.) are likely to be excluded from a DUI case.
Speak to an experienced DUI attorney at Lotze Mosely, LLP
Lotze Mosely, LLP provides superior representation to those accused of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in the Washington DC area. To learn more about your rights and how our DWI/DUI attorneys can help you with your charge, call us today to arrange for a free consultation at (202) 393-0535.