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Common Errors Made by Police in DUI Cases

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Aug 25, 2020

What are some of the most common errors that you find police make regarding DUI cases in Los Angeles? Sometimes, police illegally stop someone, and then the issue becomes whether we will prove that they illegally stopped them.

Often, we will try to get the dash cameras from their vehicles if they have them. The next issue will be whether or not they have probable cause to arrest the person. Police decide whether to arrest someone based on a host of different factors. How is the person driving? How are they walking? How are they talking? How do they perform on the field sobriety tests?

Sometimes, we can use video evidence to show that the police are not telling the truth. Another way that the police cheat is that they will not perform the field sobriety test the right way or choose between a blood and breath test.

Or, they won't tell the person that if they don't take the chemical test, they will automatically lose their driver's license for one year. Sometimes, the police do things the right way; other times, they do not. Your best bet is to hire a trained legal professional to go over the whole police report and see if the police did something wrong that can be used to help defend your DUI case. 

What procedures must police follow for a chain of evidence in DUI cases?

If the police take your breath, the Intoxilyzer-3000 will give you a slip of paper to show you what your blood alcohol level is. The defense will get a copy of that slip. They also have to make sure that the machine is calibrated correctly and in good working order. If they take your blood, it must be kept in a vial so that the defense can test it at a later time.

The police have to have probable cause to pull a particular person over. They cannot force a person to do field sobriety tests; they can only ask him to do them. Before the police can arrest someone, they have to have probable cause that the person is under the influence of an illegal substance.

If they don't have probable cause, they cannot arrest the person. If they do, it would be an illegal arrest, and the case would likely end up getting dismissed.

What if the chain of evidence was broken?

When I read a case, I've got an eye out for any mistakes that the police have made. Suppose they break the chain of evidence related to either blood or breath. In that case, your attorney should file a motion with the judge to object to the prosecutors using that particular evidence against you.

Police must make sure the DUI breath machine is properly calibrated.

Even if you're not successful in that motion, the defense should probably hire an expert to testify at trial that whatever evidence they are trying to use against you is not reliable.

For example, if someone blew in either a handheld device or a machine at the police station, there is an error rate for both those devices.

The defense would want to call an expert to confirm with the jury that if someone blew within that error rate, they could have been below the legal limit.

If they passed all their field sobriety tests and they blew one point away, the defense may have a good argument that the person was not intoxicated. Even the prosecutor's expert will have to admit that they could have been under the legal limit.

Can police order me out of my car and search it?

If police stop you validly and suspect that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they can order you out of the car for officer safety.

If they smell alcohol on your breath when they pull you over, they can get you out of the car so that they can talk to you and find out if you are safe to operate a motor vehicle. Their job is to protect the public, after all.

If you get arrested for DUI, the officers can take your vehicle and impound it as part of the arrest process.

They can make sure that there are no weapons and conduct an inventory search. They also have the discretion not to take your vehicle; it is up to them.

The officer may have one of your passengers take your car not to end up getting impounded. They could park it on the street. It is ultimately their decision.

Do police have to read my Miranda rights?

I don't remember if the police read my Miranda rights when I was arrested for DUI in Los Angeles County. How can we find out if they did? Unfortunately, the

Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

Miranda rights have been eroded in many different ways.

The police don't have to read anyone their Miranda rights if they don't want to.

The only time they have to read you your Miranda rights is if they want to take a statement from you while you are in custody that they will use to try to incriminate you.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0963.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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