When police fail to follow certain procedures in a DWI arrest, their mistakes can result in a legal motion to exclude incriminating evidence or dismiss charges against the DWI offender.
DWI Arrest Mistakes May Lead to Release
Police officers are permitted to stop suspected drunk drivers, but they must follow specific law enforcement procedures. The way roadside stops and investigations are conducted by police officers has a significant impact on DWI arrest charges and convictions.
Lack of Probable Cause
When making roadside DWI traffic stops, police officers must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired. Reasonable suspicion is often based on driving behaviors such as weaving through traffic, unsafe lane changes, running traffic signals, and reckless driving. When writing traffic tickets and submitting police reports, officers must state a reason, probable cause, for stopping the vehicle.
Omitting Miranda Rights
Prior to every arrest, police officers are required by law to read a suspect his/her Miranda Rights. They must be informed of their right to remain silent, their right to secure counsel, and warned whatever they say can be used against them. If Miranda Rights are omitted, a defendant’s statements may be inadmissible as evidence in a DWI court case.
Field Sobriety Test Errors
If a driver is pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, police officers usually administer standardized field sobriety tests including the (1) walk-turn test; (2) one-leg stand test; and (3) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. These tests determine if a driver’s balance, coordination, and ability to follow instructions are impaired by alcohol. For accurate results, police officers must give drivers correct instructions and guide them through the field tests.
Breath Test Errors
When administering breath tests, police officers are required to observe drivers and wait 15 minutes before giving the test. The 15-minute observation ensures that a suspect does not eat or drink, vomit, or smoke, actions that can affect breath test results. Officers often violate 15-minute observation periods while transporting suspects to the police department or leaving suspects alone while completing paperwork. When the 15-minute observation rule is violated by officers, a Minneapolis 24 hour lawyer can argue inaccurate breath test results and inadmissible evidence in a DWI court case.
In criminal cases, prosecutors are tasked with the burden of proof. In DWI cases, police errors often lead to suppression of vital evidence needed for a conviction and dismissal of DWI charges against a suspect.