You may think that the police didn't treat your fairly after getting pulled over, but does that mean that your rights were violated? It all depends on what happened, but when the police don't follow the rules, you should have to pay for it. We are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. When I talk to my clients facing a DUI, I will get all the information and investigate the arrest, including the video and audio evidence. I always check to see where the police officer made a mistake, because it isn't right for you to get arrested when they didn't treat you fairly. A police officer's mistake can mean reduced or dismissed charges for your DUI.
It may be hard for you to know when the police officer made a mistake before, during or after your DUI arrest. After all, the police may go through the motions a dozen times a day, but it is only your first time dealing with a DUI. An experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer understands the rules and regulations the police are supposed to follow, and what happens when they don't follow the rules.
Police Officer DUI Mistakes
A rookie cop may make a mistake during your DUI arrest. Even an experienced police officer may make a mistake because they've done hundreds of DUI arrests. Sometimes an officer may not follow the rules because they actually don't know the law. Any of these situations could result in unfair treatment in your DUI arrest. The good news is that an arrest does not have to end in a conviction. It is not the police who determine if you are guilty or not, that is for the courts to decide. If the police didn't follow the regulations, then you need someone to point that out to the judge and jury, so you don't have to be convicted.
Police officer mistakes can start before you are even pulled over. If the police pull you over without a reason, then you may have been stopped unlawfully. The police need articulable facts to justify a traffic stop, such as a traffic violation. It doesn't have to be a major criminal offense. Something as minor as driving without your lights on can give the police enough reason to pull you over. But there has to be something. If the police officer doesn't have a specific reason for the initial traffic stop, your rights may have been violated.
Field sobriety testing can also be rife with mistakes. The standardized field sobriety tests have specific training, guidelines, and rules that the police are supposed to follows. However, even if conducted perfectly, these tests are not always accurate. So when the police officer doesn't follow the rules regarding field sobriety testing, they may be made even less accurate.
There are specific instructions the police are supposed to give before conducting field sobriety testing. If the officer tells you to take the wrong number of steps, or leaves out an important instruction, you may be “failing” the test even though it was the police officer's mistake.
Many things can also make the test less accurate. If the officer fails to take these factors into account, they may not be giving you a fair chance to pass these tests. Flashing lights, a dark highway shoulder, and uneven ground could make you stumble on the walk and turn test, but the officer may think it is only related to alcohol. Medications can also affect field sobriety tests, even if you are not driving impaired.
Police officers often rely on field sobriety testing to justify arresting a driver on suspicion of a DUI. Once they get back to the police station, that may be followed by a chemical test to find out if you have drugs or alcohol in your system. Before taking a chemical sample, the police officer is supposed to inform you of the implied consent law. It may be a violation if the officer doesn't tell you the Georgia implied consent law, or leaves out important information. How can you effectively consent when you're unsure what you are consenting to?
The police or lab workers may make mistakes in taking and testing your chemical sample. A blood sample could get mislabeled, or contaminated, which could lead to a false positive test. A breath sample could be done without the machine having a recent calibration, which could make the results less accurate. There are specific rules and procedures law enforcement is supposed to follow involving chemical testing. If they don't go by the book, you may end up with false test results.
As a DUI lawyer, I have received the same NHTSA approved training that Atlanta police receive in how to conduct a field sobriety test. Because I know what they are supposed to do, I know what to look for when they take a shortcut, or don't follow the rules. I know the questions to ask a police officer during trial to find out what they did wrong. Unfair treatment should not result in a DUI conviction. You deserve the benefits of the American justice system, to be considered innocent until proven guilty. A DUI arrest does not have to end in a conviction when unfairly gathered evidence can be thrown out of court.
Your Georgia DUI Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a DUI, make sure to find a lawyer who is willing to investigate all the details of your case and make sure you get treated fairly. If you have any questions or concerns about whether the police made an error during your arrest, call me today.