Any mistakes made by the arresting officer can have an impact on your case’s result. That’s why it’s critical to understand the most common errors law enforcement officers make when arresting someone for DUI, so you can better defend yourself and your rights.
In this article, we’ll go through some of the most typical mistakes committed during a DUI arrest and show how the best DUI lawyer in Spartanburg, South Carolina can help in such a situation and use the said mistakes in your favor.
Common Mistakes Made By Police Officers During a DUI Arrest
Police officers can make all sorts of mistakes (some cases can be more severe than others) when dealing with a drunk driver.
Not Conducting a Proper DUI Investigation
When officers pull someone over on suspicion of DUI, they must investigate the situation properly, i.e., ascertain that the individual is indeed drunk (or not).
For this, they may question the driver to determine their level of impairment, examine their bodily motions, and administer field sobriety tests.
The officer will check for symptoms of drunkenness when interviewing the suspected motorist, such as slurred speech, trouble following directions, or inability to focus. They may also be on the lookout for any unusual physical activity, such as swaying or an uneven walk.
Next, they must administer field sobriety tests to determine the driver’s level of drunkenness.
However, often, an arresting officer may fail to investigate the situation properly and draw inferences about the driver’s intoxication based only on circumstantial evidence. This can be harmful and result in an unfair DUI charge.
Unlawful Field Sobriety Tests
As a DUI suspect, you should be aware that police officers may administer a series of field sobriety tests in the field. These tests are intended to establish whether or not a person has been drinking and driving, not whether or not they are impaired.
During a DUI arrest, police officers frequently make the mistake of administering illegal tests, such as tapping your nose or asking you to draw a line from one side of your nose to the other. Field sobriety tests, other than the standard tests (such as the one-leg stand test, the walk-and-turn test, etc.) are not permitted in South Carolina.
You should refuse any test that does not evaluate drunkenness directly. But if you did not know so at the time (i.e., how a given test works), you can consult with your lawyer about how it will affect your case.
Also, if the officer did not give clear instructions during the tests (i.e., if you did not know what was expected of you), that too can compromise their validity.
Waiting Too Long to Administer a BAC Test
Police officers must perform a BAC breath test within 2 hours and a blood or urine test within 3 hours for valid results. The readings will be inaccurate and inadmissible as evidence against you if you are charged with drunk driving.
Violation of Search and Seizure Rights
Even during a DUI arrest, police officers are prohibited from violating the individual’s rights. This implies that unless they have a warrant with sufficient cause, they cannot search you or your property without your permission.
Violations of your search and seizure rights during an investigation might lead to problems later on that can harm the arresting officer’s case.
Common mistakes in this area, on part of the police officer, include:
- Not identifying themselves properly
- Failure to provide valid proof for a warrant to search or seize evidence
- Performing an illegal search without your consent
- Failure to provide sufficient reasons for holding a suspect beyond what is required by law (this includes walking away from the scene without explanation).
Not Reading Drivers Their Miranda Rights
Not sure what your Miranda Rights are? These are the familiar cautions you’ve seen in movies and television shows – “You have the right to stay quiet. In a court of law, everything you say may and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney…”
If the arresting officer fails to read these rights when making the arrest, let your attorney know.
Not Obtaining Search Warrants
Before searching a suspect’s car, or seizing their belongings, the police must either have probable cause or a warrant. If neither is the case, and the suspect does not give consent to any search as well, whatever physical evidence they collect may be barred from use in court.
Blood tests must also follow a specific procedure (from obtaining consent from the suspect to collecting and preserving the blood) to be considered valid/admissible proof in court.
Failure to properly handle or maintain blood samples, or acquire them without authorization, might render any results inadmissible as evidence in court.
Failing to Remember Details
The arresting officer must be able to recall every detail of their interaction with a DUI suspect. Sometimes, officers can forget important facts, such as what was stated during the traffic stop or why a particular field test was conducted.
If that is how it happens in your case, it will impact the outcome, likely, to your benefit.
Get the Help You Need From Our Cabable Criminal Defense Attorneys in Spartanburg!
If you have been arrested for DUI in Spartanburg, South Carolina, it is important to understand your rights and how a criminal defense attorney can help you.
If the police officer made a mistake during your arrest, such as not reading you your Miranda rights, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Spartanburg, South Carolina from the Bateman Law Firm can use this to your advantage in court.
Additionally, our attorneys at The Bateman Firm can challenge the evidence against you and cross-examine the arresting officer to try to get the charges against you either dropped altogether or reduced.
If you are facing DUI charges, do not hesitate to contact the best DUI lawyers in Spartanburg, South Carolina, from our firm, to protect your rights and have a fighting chance for a favorable outcome.
Reach out to us now for a free consultation!