Common Police Mistakes in a DWI Arrest
Law enforcement is required to obey the arrest procedures and investigation rules in the event of DWI. These rules provide transparency and fairness in the work law enforcement performs, ensure the evidence gathered is legal and unbiased, and protect your rights.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for police to break the rules—typically by mistake. If an officer commits an error, it means that the evidence they collected by breaking the rules cannot be used in a court of law.
If law enforcement made a mistake in your case, your criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence with the judge. If the judge grants this motion, then the evidence will be suppressed or removed from the case. Since the prosecution cannot use the suppressed evidence against you, this strengthens your defense and often results in victory.
The following are the most common police mistakes in a Tennessee DWI case:
- Pulled you over without reasonable suspicion – Law enforcement must have a reason to pull you over at the start. In most cases, this means a traffic violation, such as speeding, switching lanes without signaling, or driving with a broken light. If an officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion, then all the evidence obtained is invalid.
- Stopped your vehicle due to an anonymous call – A police officer cannot rely on a phone call to stop you if he/she does not have a name and address associated with the caller. The officer must observe an actual violation of the law prior to making a legal stop.
- Failed to properly administer a field sobriety test (FST) – Law enforcement use FSTs to determine whether you are intoxicated before choosing to arrest you. They must follow the rules established by the NHTSA, such as providing an explanation of each test and accounting for other factors that could affect your results. If they fail to administer the test in a proper manner, the FST evidence cannot be used in court.
- Failed to properly administer the breath test – Tennessee law sets the rules governing how breath tests are conducted. Whether the police officer fails to administer the breath test properly or fails to calibrate the test device, the test results are invalid.
- Failed to establish probable cause – Police need probable cause to make an arrest. This means they have enough evidence of DWI that a reasonable person would suspect you’re violating the law. If they do not have probable cause for the arrest, any evidence collected afterward may be inadmissible in court.
At The Clark Law Firm, our Fort Worth DWI attorney can thoroughly investigate your case, collect evidence, and determine if any mistakes were made in your case by law enforcement in order to develop a strong defense strategy on your behalf. Do not wait to get your life back on track after a drunk driving incident.
For more information, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.