Was your DUI arrest legal?
In the legal world, due process of law requires the law be applied fairly and evenly to all people, especially those accused of a crime. The Constitution uses the phrase in the 5th and 14th Amendments, declaring that the government shall not deprive anyone of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."
Criminal procedure matters a great deal when the police are conducting searches, seizures and arrests. Missing steps, cutting corners and neglecting details can mean dismissed cases and lost opportunities. The same restrictions apply to any traffic citation in South Carolina, especially when charged with a criminal offense for DUI. When it comes to an officer trying to prove that a person is too intoxicated to be on the road, certain procedural actions must be taken for the case to stand up in a court of law. While drinking and driving is never advisable, DUI charges can sometimes be dismissed due to procedural errors made by the officer. Here are just a few of the factors that affect the validity of a DUI arrest and the strength of the case against you:
Police Need to State Your Rights
While you have probably heard the Miranda rights read on a TV show or movie, you may not realize that this is an actual necessity that must be completed in real life. Officers need to inform you that you do have the right to “remain silent” and wait until you have spoken with a lawyer before submitting to questioning. Some people believe you should answer all questions because your silence can be used as proof of guilt in a court case, but if you have a good reason for remaining quiet, you will be given a chance to explain yourself. Making admissions like “I only had one or two drinks” may seem like a way to get out of a ticket, but can actually give the officer proof against you. Additionally, admitting that you had "one or two drinks" is such a common response made by intoxicated individuals that it can often mean "five or six drinks" in the officer's mind based on his past experience with DUI arrests.
Breathalyzer Tests Need to Be Correctly Administered
There are several factors that can affect the accuracy of a breathalyzer test. A few of the most common mistakes that can affect the results include:
- Foreign objects in the mouth. The officer must tell you to remove any mints, gum or food before performing the test. If you have any residue of vomit or food, you may need to wash your mouth out before blowing into a breathalyzer.
- Failing to calibrate for outside temperature. This must be done each time the test is performed.
- Environmental effects. Being around certain chemicals can affect the accuracy of the test.
Failing to properly administer the test can mean false results and evidence that may be inadmissible against you in Court.
Tests Need to Be Conducted on Camera
In a court of law, it is often your word against the officer’s, which is why the law requires police officers to record all testing on camera. If this is not done, the evidence may be considered inadmissible.
When it comes to DUI citations, the processes performed during the stop and testing play a role in whether or not you will be found guilty. An experienced South Carolina DUI attorney can fight for your rights and determine if all necessary steps were taken in your case.