If you have been arrested for a DUI in Washtenaw County and want to fight the charge(s) asserted against you, you should hire an attorney that is knowledgeable of the defenses that may be available to discredit the prosecution’s evidence.
Defenses Related to Arrest
1. Reasonable Suspicion
Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard of proof that is less than probable cause (which is the legal standard for valid arrests and warrants).
The police officer must have specific and articulable facts that criminal activity has, is, or about to occur in order to detain someone for further investigation under Michigan law. Common examples that provide police officers with reasonable suspicion during drunk driving vehicle stops include drivers swerving in between lanes (illegal lane changes), or running a red light.
The prosecutor can use the arresting officer’s testimony to lay a foundational basis of him/her having reasonable suspicion to pull you over. An experienced DUI attorney may find weaknesses in the officer’s testimony to challenge the authenticity of his or her statements in an attempt to have them excluded as evidence.
2. Probable Cause
A police officer needs probable cause to make an arrest or obtain a search warrant for further investigation and evidence. The officer needs a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime in order to arrest him/her.
A police officer can establish probable cause to arrest you for a DUI by administering field sobriety tests. If you fail more than one field sobriety test, a reasonable person can infer that you are likely intoxicated.
A DUI defense attorney can analyze the procedures the officer used to conduct the field sobriety tests to challenge any of the officer’s testimonial evidence.
3. Miranda Warning
Contrary to popular belief, you will not be read a Miranda warning immediately following a DUI arrest. Instead, a police officer is required to read your Miranda warning only if he/she takes you into custody for interrogation or questioning. If the officer fails to read you this warning prior to interrogation while in custody, your attorney can challenge any evidence the prosecutor uses regarding the statements you made. In a DUI situation, officers rarely question or interrogate drivers after making the arrest. In fact, Miranda warnings are not required prior to routine roadside questioning after a traffic stop even if the driver gives incriminating statements (such as how much alcohol was consumed). People v Chinn, 141 Mich App 92, 366 NW2d 83 (1985) (relying on Berkemer v McCarty, 468 US 420 (1984)). Therefore, Miranda warnings are rarely given after a DUI arrest.
4. Challenge Breathalyzer Evidence
Breathalyzer test results are not always completely accurate. Certain substances and bodily conditions can result in a false-read indicating intoxication. Your attorney can hire a breathalyzer expert to examine the breathalyzer report to see if there is any inaccuracy. Your attorney can also review whether the breathalyzer followed proper procedures in administering the test and whether the police department properly maintained the breathalyzer.
5. Challenge Chemical Tests Evidence
Similar to breathalyzer tests, chemical tests are not always accurate either. There are certain bodily and testing conditions that can cause inaccurate test results in which your attorney can challenge if the prosecutor introduces it into evidence.
I hope you found the information above beneficial. Contact me for a drunk driving case consultation. I provide legal representation to Washtenaw County residents charged with DUIs.