Challenging Police Officer Investigations in DWI Cases
In the United States, we have many laws in place to help protect us from law enforcement. In some cases, a police officer may have been overzealous by jumping to incorrect conclusions or not following the law him or herself!
When you’re the victim of a situation where an officer violated the protections guaranteed by the Constitution, you may feel alone or overwhelmed. How can you possibly stand up against someone whose job it was to uphold the law? In other cases, you may not even be aware that your rights were violated, which has needlessly subjected you to severe punishment.
How do you know if you were treated unfairly by law enforcement during a DUI or DWI investigation? The best way to find out is by going over your case with an experienced DUI attorney. An experienced DWI defense lawyer will ask you questions as you describe each step of what happened to ensure that you were treated fairly. If something illegal is uncovered, your lawyer can then investigate to get to the bottom of things, as well as gather evidence to fight for you in court.
In some cases, the charges will be thrown out of court entirely, or part of the evidence that the officer gathered (which can even include breath test or blood test results) may be inadmissible, making it very hard for the prosecution to prove the charges against you.
What are some of the ways that your rights may have been violated for a DWI case? Here are just a few of the protections that you are guaranteed under the law.
- Your car cannot be stopped unless the law enforcement officer has a certain level of suspicion that a crime or motor vehicle violation as occurred.
- You cannot be detained for investigation without a certain level of suspicion that you committed a crime or serious motor vehicle violation.
- Evidence cannot be seized by law enforcement without a warrant – unless there is an exception to the warrant requirement for your particular situation.
- You cannot be arrested unless there is probable cause to believe that a crime or serious motor vehicle violation was committed or unless a warrant for your arrest exists.
- Your car cannot be searched without a warrant – unless there is an exception to the warrant requirement for your particular situation.
- Every police roadblock must meet specific requirements to be considered constitutionally acceptable.
- For each piece of evidence, the police are required to provide proof of the chain of custody for every person who handled the evidence and how it was transported or stored during each step of the way. Without this, the evidence can be inadmissible in court.
- A police officer is required to keep an accurate police report for every incident. If there are any errors or omissions in the report, they can throw suspicion on the testimony of that officer and any other officers involved in the investigation.
- You have the right to accurate breath, blood, and urine tests. If there are mistakes made along the way, or if proper chain of custody cannot be established, then the evidence may be thrown out of court.
- The machine used to test your blood, urine, or breath must be properly maintained by law enforcement regularly in order to function properly. If this is not the case, the results may be inaccurate and can be thrown out by the judge.
- Any evidence that is misplaced or destroyed can lead to charges being dismissed.
Many of these issues require specialized knowledge of the sciences behind DWI law. You often need an expert in this area in order to uncover issues – and to know how to gain access to evidence that can be used in your favor in court. That’s why it’s advisable to not just look for a good lawyer – but to look for a good DUI / DWI attorney.