It’s a common misunderstanding that law enforcement doesn’t have to follow proper criminal procedure if they are in pursuit of someone suspected of breaking the law. For example, it may seem like the search and seizure laws are thrown out the window when someone commits a crime in front of an officer or when they’re on the run, but that is not the case. Sometimes, the rules are differentin certain situations. Not all citizens understand that.
Even if the majority of the officers follow the law, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a percentage of officers who either: 1) make mistakes, or 2) act like they’re above the law and don’t follow the rules. Once in a while, you get a rule breaker, but that doesn’t mean their behavior is condoned by their peers.
Even when someone is suspected of driving under the influence, a police officer must follow the rules of the road, probable cause, and enforcement protocol when they seek an arrest. But the question is, how does this impact your DUI case? In California, anyone suspected of a crime is innocent until proven guilty, and law enforcement must give each person the rights afforded to them by the Constitution when making an arrest, and you are no exception!
WHY SMALL DETAILS PLAY A BIG ROLE
A case in Illinois from a few years back highlights the importance of the law and how it can be used to your advantage if you have been arrested for DUI. A driver was pulled over by a police officer after allegedly blowing through a red light. The officer pulled over the driver and suspected the driver of driving under the influence. Due to the driver’s previous DUI convictions, the suspect was charged with felony DUI.
When the details of the case were carefully examined by attorneys, it was revealed that the officer installed a dash-cam on their vehicle. The footage showed the allegedly impaired driver's car going through a yellow light, not a red light.
Under the law, the only way that law enforcement can pull a car over for a suspected DUI is if they have reasonable suspicion to believe that a traffic violation has occurred. Since the driver had driven through a yellow light, which is perfectly legal, the officer had no valid reason for the traffic stop. As a result, all evidence suggesting the driver was intoxicated was suppressed and the judge dismissed the case – case closed!
WAS YOUR POLICE STOP LAWFUL?
When law enforcement pulls over a car without reasonable suspicion, they are breaking the law, thus making any traffic stop and any evidence found as a result inadmissible in court. If you were arrested for DUI in Orange County, don't leave the case up to chance!
Related: When Does a DUI Fall Off My Record?
A DUI defense lawyer from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. knows the laws and can carefully examine your case in search of the supportive evidence necessary to improve your chances of a positive outcome. Contact our firm to schedule your free consultation!