When someone is arrested for a DUI, they may assume the evidence is stacked against them or that there’s no way out. But that’s not always the case. In fact, every day DUI lawyers find weak spots in the prosecution’s case that allows the defendant (the person arrested for DUI) to fight their charge. One way they may do this is by demonstrating the defendant’s rights were violated during the arrest process—which is more common than you’d think.
If you were arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, it’s vital to know your options. If your rights were violated at any point in the process, you’ll want to know it and be able to prove it happened.
Top 4 Ways Your Rights Could Be Violated During a Los Angeles DUI Arrest
Police officers are human like the rest of us, and even those with the best intentions can make mistakes. Other times, pure bias can lead to violation of a DUI defendant’s rights. Here are the most commons ways it happens.
1. There Was No Probable Cause to Arrest You
All Los Angeles police must follow a certain protocol for pulling over a vehicle. Part of that protocol is having “probable cause” for the initial stop and then the DUI arrest. This does not mean the officer can simply arrest you based on their own suspicion.
Probable cause is based on facts, but opinions or suspicion. There must be evidence and facts present to make any reasonable person believe a crime was committed (or will be committed). If an officer just sees a driver behaving unusually behind the wheel, they may have reasonable suspicion to pull you over—but not to arrest you for DUI.
An officer may use any of the following tactics to determine probable cause for an arrest:
- Noting impaired driving behavior
- Pulling a driver over and questioning them
- Having the driver go through a field sobriety test
- Administering a roadside breath test
To be admissible in court, a DUI arrest must meet the probable cause standard. And sometimes, it doesn’t. When that is the case, a good DUI lawyer will work to prove that the arresting officer(s) had no right to perform the initial traffic stop in the first place.
2. You Weren’t Read Your Rights
Police officers must let you know your rights at the following times during the DUI arrest process.
During the Arrest
The most well-known of these rights is the Miranda Warning: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…”
The officer must read your Miranda rights during the arrest if they plan to interrogate you under custody. And if you indicate at any time before or during questioning that you wish you remain silent or that you want an attorney, the interrogation must stop. If you request an attorney, officers cannot question you further without your attorney present.
Before Mandatory Testing
In addition, if you are asked to take a breath or blood test after your arrest, officers must tell you that the tests are mandatory and refusing them is illegal.
If officers fail to inform you of your rights during any of these times, you may be able to get evidence against you thrown out.
3. Testing Procedures Were Not Followed
Any evidence obtained after you were pulled over, such as the results of a blood test, must be treated under the proper procedure. If they are not, the results shouldn’t be used as sufficient evidence against you.
Some officers will also ask you to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs) after pulling you over. The purpose of these tests is to check for signs of drunkenness or impairment, but they have many flaws.
If a DUI lawyer finds out the evidence was mishandled or tests were misinterpreted, at any stage of the process after your arrest, they may be able to get it thrown out of court.
4. You Weren’t Treated Humanely
Unfortunately, unfair treatment by police officers can happen. No matter the crime you’re being accused of or arrested for, officers must treat you humanely. If you experienced inhumane treatment, such as being beaten or deprived of food or water while held in jail or for questioning, your rights were violated.
Officers must also not treat you as guilty unless you’ve actually been convicted of DUI.
How to Prove Your Rights Were Violated During a DUI Case
Getting an experienced DUI defense attorney is the best way to prove a violation of your rights during the DUI process. Your attorney will be able to investigate the details of your case and see if your rights were violated in any way—then use that to poke holes in the prosecutor’s evidence or claims.
If your DUI lawyer can prove a violation of your rights before, during, or after your DUI arrest—or at any time during the case—your DUI charge could be thrown out. When enough evidence is discredited or thrown out in court, the prosecution may even discuss your case completely.
If you arrested for DUI in Los Angeles or any other part of California, we can help by connecting you with a leading attorney in your area. We’ll get you a FREE consultation to go over the details and determine your best options. For a free consultation as soon as possible, call 310-896-2724, or fill out the form on this page today.