Common DUI Mistakes Made by Birmingham Police

Common DUI Mistakes Made by Birmingham Police

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Birmingham, AL, remember that getting charged with a drunk driving offense is not the same as being convicted. You still have an opportunity to present an effective defense—with the assistance of a skilled attorney—to either have your entire case dismissed or reduce the penalties you must serve after conviction.

There are many cases where police officers make mistakes during a DUI investigation. From making the traffic stop to gathering evidence, there are specific rules law enforcement must follow to protect a suspect’s rights. If an officer breaks one of these rules and violates your constitutional rights, any evidence collected from the DUI investigation can be inadmissible at court. Without important evidence for the prosecution to present, the judge may rule the case in your favor.

The most common mistakes the police make during a DUI investigation include the following:

  • Lack of reasonable suspicion – Before law enforcement can pull a person over, they must first establish “reasonable suspicion.” This typically means you committed a traffic violation (i.e. speeding, ignoring a traffic light, or driving with a broken taillight or without buckling your safety belt). The officer needs a reason to pull you over, not because they have “a hunch.” If law enforcement cannot tell you the reason for pulling you over, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress any evidence obtained after the traffic stop.
  • Lack of probable cause – While reasonable suspicion is required to make a traffic stop, “probable cause” must be established first before an officer can make a lawful arrest. This means law enforcement has gathered enough evidence of DUI (i.e. field sobriety test results, preliminary breath test results, or evidence of drunk driving in plain sight) that a reasonable individual would believe you broke the law. If probable cause doesn’t exist, it is possible all the charges will be dismissed.
  • Improper field sobriety testing – Field sobriety tests must be administered by a specific set of procedures. Furthermore, several factors such as the suspect’s health, the weather, and the condition of the road must be taken into consideration. If an officer fails to explain each test clearly, administer the test on level ground, or account for other factors which could impact the results, any evidence from field sobriety testing will be invalid.
  • Improper breath testing – Before the police can administer a breath test, they must observe you for 15 minutes straight to make sure you don’t vomit, burp, or eat/drink anything. Furthermore, the testing device must be properly calibrated. If law enforcement skips these steps when administering a breath test, the results will be thrown out of court.

There are many other types of mistakes police officers make. Your attorney can investigate your case, analyze the evidence collected by officers, and determine if there are any irregularities which may benefit your defense.

For more information about DUI in Alabama, contact our Birmingham DUI defense lawyer at Tidwell Law Group and schedule a free consultation today.

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