Driving home after a night out with friends, you spot the red police lights in your rearview mirror. It is a law enforcement patrol car, so you pull over to the side of the road. The police officer exits his car and wonders the reason for your erratic driving. He suspects that you have had too much to drink. You weather a field sobriety test for DUI.
All law enforcement officers must follow specific protocols in any arrest situation. The slightest mistake or overlooked detail made by them may lead to the dismissal of any such charges, including DUI. Their failures work in your favor.
Lack of probable cause, faulty reports
When it comes to arrests, law enforcement must do things by the book in gathering and recording evidence that they provide to prosecutors, who make the decision whether to pursue charges. Prosecutors want an airtight case, and if something seems a bit off related to the arrest, they may not file charges.
Here are some law enforcement mistakes that may lead to no charges being filed or the dismissal of charges:
- Neglecting probable cause: Law enforcement needs reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle. Weaving on the road, crossing the center line and driving too fast or slowly represent examples of probable cause for DUI. Authorities cannot stop you simply because of hunches, anonymous tips and your race, age or vehicle you drive.
- Improper use of breathalyzer: These are tricky devices that test your breath for alcohol content. Officers must complete proper training in administering the breathalyzer, which also must be in operating order. In such scenarios, unreliable readings can occur.
- Faulty and incomplete reports: Law enforcement officers may have certain prejudices, and those prejudices can surface in their reports. Fabricating details on police reports is possible.
- Failing to read the Miranda warning: People arrested on a DUI charge usually are not read the Miranda warning. But those rights that protect a person from self-incrimination and to hiring an attorney are required to be read to people under arrest and interrogation.
When faced with a DUI arrest, you may come face-to-face with an inexperienced, incompetent or dishonest law enforcement officer. They may make mistakes that can lead to you overcoming a DUI charge.