We’ve been looking in recent posts at the topic of texting while driving, and the proposal to allow police officers to use devices giving them the ability to search drivers’ phones to determine whether they were texting prior to an accident. As we noted, there are privacy concerns with this proposal.
Privacy concerns are often at play in cases involving drunken driving charges. Police officers are required by law to abide by various rules in conducting searches and seizures, and failure to do so can result in improper searches and arrests. Screening for compliance with these rules is one of the things an experienced DUI defense attorney will do when examining a DUI case.
One thing a DUI defense attorney will look for when screening a case is probable cause. Police officers must have probable cause to pull a vehicle to the side of the road, to conduct field sobriety tests, and to make arrests on suspicion of DUI. In many cases, police officers will find adequate probable cause to pull over a vehicle in traffic infractions.
If an officer develops probable cause to believe the individual is intoxicated, he or she will typically request field sobriety testing. If, the officer determines from observations and sobriety testing that the individual is likely to be intoxicated, an arrest will be made. Normally, police officers do their jobs correctly, but not in every case. In cases where an officer acted recklessly and without probable cause, this issue needs to be pursued in building a defense case.
In addition to probable cause, there is also the legality of searches, both of the driver’s person and the driver’s vehicle. When police officers discover evidence of crime through improper and illegal searches, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to address this issue in the context of criminal defense.