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Did the Police Violate Your Rights During a DUI Stop?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Jul 12, 2017

A DUI stop is intimidating, and it can be challenging to know your rights. As a driver, it is essential to understand that the police are subject to certain legal limitations on how they collect evidence, and violations of these limits can significantly impact how your case is resolved. In fact, in some cases, a violation of your constitutional rights can result in the entire DUI case against you being dropped entirely.

If you believe that your rights were violated during a DUI traffic stop, it is essential to consult with an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as possible. The aggressive lawyers at the Hedding Law Firm will ensure that your rights are vindicated, and you have access to all possible remedies.

What Remedies Are Available for DUI Stop Violations?

Many remedies may be available to you, depending on the facts of your case. Some of the most common are:

  • Suppression of evidence under the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment prohibits police officers from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. What this means in practice is that the police need to have probable cause or a warrant to search your or your vehicle – and a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine is considered to be a “search.” In addition, to even make a traffic stop, they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed. Suppose you can establish that the police lacked sufficient legal justification for a search. In that case, it can result in any evidence they gathered being suppressed (meaning the prosecution cannot introduce the statement into evidence). Without using evidence gathered in a traffic stop, prosecutors are often required to drop their case.
  • Suppression of evidence under the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment protects your right against self-incrimination. It is the reason Miranda Warnings must be given after a person is taken into custody. If you involuntarily make an incriminating statement to a law enforcement officer, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to have the judge suppress it from the trial.
  • Suppression of evidence under the Sixth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment protects your right to counsel. This is part of the Miranda Warnings, and violations of this right can also lead to the suppression of evidence at trial. If you request an attorney and law enforcement continues to question you, your lawyer may be able to suppress any statements made after you request counsel.
  • Civil Rights actions under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Suppression of evidence can be a powerful tool at a criminal trial. But what if you were wrongfully stopped, no charges were filed against you, and there never is a criminal trial? Congress has established another remedy for violations of civil rights. Section 1983 allows you to bring a civil suit against any person (including law enforcement officers) who deprives you of any of the rights, privileges, or immunities of U.S. law. For example, if a police officer elicits incriminating statements from you about how much you drank during a DUI stop, these would not be admissible at trial. But suppose your breath test came back just under .08, and there never was a criminal trial. You would be able to file a civil lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the law enforcement agency to recover your losses caused by the violation. This could include attorney's fees, pain, and suffering, etc. 1983 lawsuits are not common because they are costly to pursue. In addition, law enforcement officers are often given the discretion to execute their duties in good faith. Nonetheless, a §1983 action can be a practical option when police conduct was particularly egregious.

Always Have a DUI Lawyer Review Your Case

As a DUI defendant, it is essential to understand that issues related to constitutional rights and the suppression of evidence are highly complicated. As a result, it is difficult to determine whether your rights were violated or to suppress evidence without significant legal training and experience.

For this reason, it is essential to have an attorney review your case as soon as possible after an arrest. Failure to do so may result in an unnecessary conviction for drunk driving on your record.

If any law enforcement officer has stopped you on suspicion of DUI, contact the Hedding Law Firm today. We will ensure that your civil rights are vindicated, and your criminal case is resolved fairly. Call (213) 542-0963 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today. Our professional, friendly staff offers the personalized service you deserve.

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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