In order to make a lawful arrest for a DUI in California, law enforcement must follow certain procedures to protect a suspect’s rights, collect evidence, and ensure the investigation is fair and transparent. However, there are many instances where police officers make mistakes, whether it’s accidental or intentional.
If a police officer breaks one of the protocols in a DUI investigation, any evidence gathered can be thrown out of the courtroom through a motion to suppress. If a judge grants a motion to suppress, the defendant’s entire case could be dismissed since there isn’t enough evidence to convict them of DUI.
Here are the four most common mistakes police make in a DUI case:
- No reasonable suspicion – Law enforcement must establish “reasonable suspicion” in order to make an initial traffic stop. The most common way to do so is when a driver commits a traffic violation (e.g. speeding, driving with the lights off, switching lanes without signaling, etc.). Officers are not allowed to pull someone over based on a “gut feeling” or “hunch.” Without reasonable suspicion, any evidence of intoxication after cannot be used in court.
- No probable cause – Law enforcement must establish “probable cause” to make an arrest. This means a police officer has enough evidence of a crime that a reasonable person believes a crime occurred. Without such evidence, law enforcement cannot make a lawful arrest.
- Improper administration of a field sobriety test (FST) – FSTs are used to help officers collect more evidence of intoxication and establish probable cause. However, they must provide proper instructions to the suspect and consider various factors that may influence the results (e.g. the suspect’s age and health, road conditions, weather conditions, etc.). If an officer fails to properly administer an FST, the results cannot be used in court.
- Improper administration of chemical tests – From breath to blood tests, chemical tests determine a suspect’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Officers must be trained in administering these tests and ensure testing equipment is calibrated. If law enforcement fails to follow the rules of these tests or fails to calibrate the testing devices, the results can be thrown out of court.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Bakersfield, CA, and you suspect the arresting officers made a mistake during the investigation, Attorney Bo Koenig can review your case, determine if law enforcement violated your rights, and file a motion to suppress to have the evidence against you thrown out the courtroom.
Contact Koenig Law Office today at (661) 338-5353 and request a free case evaluation.