Police Make Mistakes in DUI and OWI Cases
With an experienced OWI/DUI defense lawyer, simple mistakes made by a police officer can be exposed and used to get charges dismissed or reduced.
Police Make Mistakes During DUI and Drunk Driving Arrests
Police Officers frequently make mistakes when they investigate and arrest a driver for OWI or Operating While Intoxicated in Michigan. An experienced Michigan drunk driving attorney will most likely discover police errors during DUI and drunk driving arrests that may result in a dismissal or an acquittal in a DUI case. Many of these mistakes include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Assuming that “witnessed” driving behavior (i.e., weaving, cell phone use, distraction) is related to alcohol consumption.
- 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)
- 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, an alcoholic drink that spilled on the driver’s clothes, etc.)
- Failing to investigate a driver’s medical issues might result in a mistaken belief that a sober driver is intoxicated because a symptom of their medical condition could seem like a sign of intoxication (such as diabetes, knee/ankle/leg/foot problems, inner ear disturbance, sleep apnea, a cognitive deficit, etc.).
- Requesting all people submit to Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST), regardless of whether they are physically unable to pass the exercises even while sober.
- Failing to eliminate distractions and obstacles during the SFST invalidates the test (i.e., loose gravel, unlevel surfaces, wind blowing, darkness, strobe lights, moving traffic, etc.)
- Failing to properly instruct the driver during the instructional phase of the SFSTs.
- Failing to properly instruct the driver during the administration of the SFSTs.
- Failing to properly follow the sequence of the SFST as described in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Manual.
- Administering invalid field sobriety “tests,” which are not supported by research studies.
- 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).
- Not having the Datamaster breath test after 2 hours of cessation of the vehicle operation.
The above list of police officer mistakes is only a partial list of errors made by officers. It applies to Michigan DUI / OWI 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.
How Defense Lawyers Can Help When There Is a Botched OWI Investigation or Arrest
A criminal defense lawyer can help a client in several ways if there is a botched OWI investigation or arrest. They can:
- Investigate the circumstances of the arrest. The lawyer will want to gather as much information as possible about the arrest, including the specific details of the stop, the officer’s observations, and the results of any field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, or blood tests. They may also want to interview witnesses who saw the arrest or know the police department’s policies and procedures.
- Challenge the legality of the arrest. If the lawyer finds that the arrest was illegal, they can file a motion to suppress any evidence obtained as a result of the arrest. This could include the results of field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, or any other evidence the police gathered after the arrest.
- Negotiate a plea deal. If the lawyer believes that the client is guilty of OWI, they may be able to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. This could involve a reduced charge or a lesser sentence. Any issues with the arrest or OWI investigation can increase the defendant’s bargaining power and decrease the government’s leverage.
- Take the case to trial. If the lawyer believes the client is innocent, they will fight for a dismissal or take the case to trial. At trial, the lawyer will present evidence that supports the client’s innocence and challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution. The defendant must be found “not guilty” unless the government proves the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Getting Charges Dismissed Because of a Bad DUI or Drunk Driving Arrest or Investigation
In some cases, a botched OWI investigation or arrest can lead to the charges being dropped or dismissed. In other cases, the lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal. If the case goes to trial, the lawyer will fight to get the client acquitted.
Here are some examples, under Michigan OWI law, of botched OWI investigations or arrests:
- The police officer did not have probable cause to stop the car.
- The police officer did not properly administer the field sobriety tests.
- The breathalyzer machine was not correctly calibrated.
- The police officer did not read the client their Miranda rights.
If you have been arrested for OWI, it is essential to speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer, such as the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and protect your interests throughout the legal process.
Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Who Find Mistakes in DUI and Drunk Driving Arrests and turn them into Dismissals
Don’t trust your Michigan OWI case to an amateur or a general practice lawyer. Please take advantage of our years of experience, trial work, and legal expertise with OWI laws. Our OWI/DUI Defense Team has decades of experience and an unparalleled track record of success. If you call us for a free consultation, we will take the time to talk with you, answer all your questions, and address your concerns. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, OWI, or drunk driving, we can help you. Our highest priority is to seek a dismissal of all charges when possible. If we cannot get the charges dismissed, we will do whatever it takes to help you avoid jail and get the most favorable deal from the prosecution.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.