Fresno DUI attorney asks: Are police behaving as they should during a traffic stop?
Nov 26, 2014
When police pull you over in a traffic stop, and then arrest you for DUI, there are protocols they need to follow. You have constitutional rights that should not be violated. And there are rules of police conduct that they need to follow.
One recent example of egregious police misconduct stems from the alleged actions of three California Highway Patrol officers; they're suspected of sending and/or viewing photos of a sexual nature found on the cellphones of women arrested for DUI. At least for one of the women, charges have been dismissed in light of the alleged misconduct.
Different kinds of police misbehavior to watch out for
There are also other potential forms of police misconduct. For example, without either probable cause or a warrant, police can't search your vehicle - unless they obtain your permission. What constitutes probable cause can be questioned. If you feel that police searched your vehicle without a warrant or probable cause and without your permission, you should discuss this with an attorney. Any evidence they find in your car, such as open bottles of liquor or drugs, could be held against you but only if it was discovered in a constitutional way.
Police also need to have a reason for pulling you over and suspecting you of DUI. For example, if you were weaving from one lane to another or blowing a stop sign, this can give them enough grounds to stop you and possibly arrest you if they suspect you of DUI (maybe you fail a sobriety test after they stop you). With your attorney, you can carefully go over the circumstances surrounding your arrest to discuss whether or not the reason police officers stopped you was legitimate.
Be sure to contact an experienced DUI attorney should you run into trouble with the law. If police don't behave properly in the circumstances surrounding your arrest (including in the way they initially stop you, administer a sobriety test, and collect other evidence), some of the evidence for your case could be thrown out - or all of the charges may be dropped. You have constitutional rights and deserve to be treated fairly and legally during every encounter with law enforcement.
Michael Mitchell is a Fresno attorney who practices in the areas of DUI, personal injury & criminal law. Visit his Google+ profile.