Everybody knows someone who has been convicted of the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). In 2005, there were 14,525 DUI arrests in Nebraska. Over 20 percent of those DUI arrests did not result in DUI convictions.1 These statistics remind us that a DUI arrest does not always result in a DUI conviction. This article briefly addresses ways DUIs can be attacked.
Despite urban legends, Police cannot arbitrarily pull over a car and administer field sobriety tests. Every citizen has a 4th Amendment right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Law enforcement officers must have a legitimate reason for stopping a vehicle (i.e. a traffic violation). Generally, if a person is pulled over for DUI, but has not broken a traffic law, the stop is illegal. However, the legality of the stop should be argued by a lawyer in a court of law, not on the street by a person who has just been pulled over by a cop.
In some cases, even if the stop is legal, the actions of the arresting officer may violate a driver’s 4thAmendment rights. The general rule is that evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure may not be used against the accused at trial.
Even if the arresting officer does everything right, the accuracy of the machine that tests yourbreath alcohol/blood alcohol may be disputed. The breathalyzer machine, like your personal computer, does not always function correctly. In fact, breathalyzer machines must be calibrated and that calibration must be checked regularly to ensure accuracy.
In sum, a DUI arrest does not always result in a DUI conviction. Innocent and guilty drivers alike are protected by the constitution. However, the best way to avoid a DUI conviction is not to drink and drive.
A full-length copy of this article can be found at: http://libanewsletter.homestead.com