Common Mistakes Police Officers Make In DUI Drunk Driving Arrests

By May 29, 2014 May 4th, 2016 blog post

Best_DUI_Defense_AttorneyPolice Officers frequently make mistakes when they investigate and arrest a driver for OWI or Operating While Intoxicated in Michigan. Errors by police that may result in a dismissal or an acquittal in a DUI case are best discovered by an experienced Michigan Drunk Driving Attorney. Many of these mistakes include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Assuming that “witnessed” driving behavior (i.e.: weaving, cell phone use, distraction) is related to alcohol consumption.
  2. Observing driver behavior from a distance and attributing the behavior to the driver and not to the road conditions (i.e.: swerving to avoid potholes or animals in the roadway)
  3. Assuming that the odor of alcohol means a person consumed alcohol and is intoxicated, when in fact the odor may be due to other causes (i.e.: mouthwash, denture solutions, alcoholic drink which was spilled on the driver’s clothes, etc.)
  4. Failing to investigate a driver’s potential medical problems which could imitate intoxication (such as diabetes, knee / ankle / leg / foot problems, inner ear disturbance, etc.).
  5. Requesting all people submit to Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), regardless of whether the person is physically unable to pass the exercises even while totally sober.
  6. Failing to eliminate distractions and obstacles during the SFST which invalidate the test (i.e.: loose gravel, unlevel surfaces, wind blowing, darkness, strobe lights, moving traffic, etc.)
  7. Failing to properly instruct the driver during the instructional phase of the SFST’s.
  8. Failing to properly instruct the driver during the administration of the SFST’s.
  9. Failing to properly follow the sequence of the SFST as described in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Manual.
  10. Administering invalid field sobriety “tests” which are not supported by research studies.
  11. Failing to properly administer the Portable Breath Test (PBT), causing a false positive result (i.e.: not following the law and waiting 15 minutes before administering the test) to support a probable cause for arrest. (Note: PBT results are generally not admissible in Michigan courts unless offered by the Defense).
  12. Not having the Datamaster breath test after 2 hours of cessation of the vehicle operation.

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The above list of police officer mistakes is only a partial list of mistakes made by officers. It applies to Michigan DUI / DWI arrests. If any of the above mistakes exist in a Driving Under the Influence matter, then a good defense may exist to the DUI / DWI charges.

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Don’t trust your Michigan OWI case to an amateur or a general-practice lawyer. Take advantage of our years of experience, trial work and legal expertise with OWI laws. Do not wait. Please contact the LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or fill out a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.

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