Police officers must adhere to certain procedures and rules—such as legally collecting evidence, protecting the rights of the suspects, as well as being fair and transparent—when investigating a DUI arrest. However, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to break these rules, typically due to an error.
If the police made a mistake during an investigation, a criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress any evidence collected. If the judge grants the motion, the prosecution cannot use the evidence against you, which strengthens your defense and ultimately results in the dismissal of your case.
The following are the most common law enforcement mistakes during an OUI investigation:
- Failure to establish reasonable suspicion – The police must have a reasonable suspicion to pull you over. They are prohibited from making a traffic stop based on a gut feeling or hunch. The most common example is speeding, driving without your headlights on, driving with a broken taillight, and other traffic violations. From there, they can determine whether you have been drunk driving. If law enforcement did not have reasonable suspicion prior to making a traffic stop, any evidence collected after the stop will be inadmissible in court.
- Improper administration of breath test – You are required to take a breath test after being arrested for drunk driving. The results of the breath test are often used in court. Officers must make a 15-minute observation to ensure you don’t vomit, burp, or eat/drink anything and ensure the testing evidence is properly calibrated. If an error is made when administering the breath test, the results will be inadmissible at trial.
- Improper administration of field sobriety tests – Law enforcement uses field sobriety tests (FSTs) to determine where a person is physically and mentally impaired by alcohol prior to making an arrest. Police officers must follow rules—including the explanation of each test, the proper ground conditions to perform each test, and considering other factors that may impact the results—set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If the police improperly administered the tests, the results of the FSTs are considered invalid.
- Sobriety checkpoint errors – At an OUI checkpoint, police officers must follow a strict protocol. If there is any type of misconduct at a checkpoint, such as choosing which motorists to detain instead of following a specific pattern or searching a driver’s vehicle without probable cause or consent, then any evidence obtained cannot be used in court.
- Failure to establish probable cause – Prior to making an arrest, police must obtain probable cause. This means there is enough evidence of driving under the influence that a reasonable individual would believe you’re committing such an act. If officers fail to establish probable cause for your arrest, they cannot use any evidence collected after your arrest against you.
At The Sills Law Firm, we are aware of the mistakes made frequently by the police in an OUI investigation. Our Connecticut OUI attorneys can examine each phase of the investigation and determine if any errors were committed in order to build a strong defense for you.
Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.