Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I have been charged with my fourth Kentucky DUI in four years. I won’t lie; I know I have an alcohol addiction. I have sought treatment, but I can’t seem to stop drinking. I have three young children. I don’t want to go to jail. What are my options?”
A driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a very serious offense. We’ve all seen the billboards and the ads. You know it’s going to cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees, potentially jeopardize your employment, and publicly embarrass you. But is there something you can do to make the whole thing go away? One of the most common questions we receive on our DUI forum is, “If I have been arrested for DUI is it possible to get the DUI charges reduced or dropped?”
An Maryland expungement is the removal of certain records from public view or inspection. If you are allowed a Maryland expungement of criminal records this means your police files, court files, and Motor Vehicle Administration files may be removed for certain crimes. Unfortunately, the Maryland expungement process only expunges certain arrest records; there is no expungement process to eliminate all of your criminal information from all agencies.
Whether you have been stopped, investigated, or arrested for DUI police must have probable cause. Probable cause is the “reasonable belief that some type of criminal activity has taken place.” If an officer stops your car and does not have probable cause it may be possible to hire a DUI lawyer to have your DUI charges dismissed or reduced.
What if I am stopped without probable cause?
If an officer has stopped you without probable cause they have violated the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. If this has occurred it’s likely you can have evidence gathered during the illegal stop suppressed, which means the court will rule the state is not allowed to use the evidence against you when trying your case.
The caveat, however, is that the officer does not have to have probable cause to believe you were intoxicated to make the stop. In fact, according to Terry v. Ohio, the United States Supreme Court decided the officer only needs “specific articulable facts” that a traffic infraction has occurred. So while the officer must have some reason to stop your car, it could be as simple as a broken taillight, running a red light or stop sign, weaving, or unusual stops and starts.
How can the police stop me at a sobriety checkpoint without probable cause?
One interesting point of contention which has been reviewed in recent years is the use of sobriety checkpoints. Most states allow sobriety checkpoints, often with very specific requirements, arguing the stop is not a criminal investigation but rather an administrative procedure. Strict constitutionalists have argued vehemently against such blurring of constitutional lines, but for now sobriety checkpoints are legal in many states.
Probable cause for DUI investigation and arrest
Not only does the police officer need probable cause to stop your car, they will also need additional reasons to begin a DUI investigation. A broken headlight will not be enough to initiate a DUI investigation.
For example, the officer will need suspicion of intoxication to ask you to submit to a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test. Evidence of intoxication could include blood shot eyes, slurred speech, opened containers of alcohol in your car, the smell of alcohol on your person, or your inability to walk. Consider, if you admit to drinking alcohol when questioned this is considered probable cause.
If the officer does not have evidence before he begins his DUI investigation the evidence obtained during a search, field sobriety test, or chemical test can be suppressed by the court.
Finally, if the police officer decides to make a DUI arrest they must have information and facts to substantiate probable cause. This information should also be outlined in the DUI arrest report. Having a suspicion of intoxication is not sufficient. You may also have additional protections if the officer arrests you, takes you into custody, and begins an official custodial interrogation.
Talk to a DUI lawyer if you believe an officer did not have probable cause to make a DUI stop, investigation or DUI arrest.
If you have been arrested for a Texas DUI one of your greatest fears is probably going to jail or spending time in prison. Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “If this is my first Texas DUI will they send me to jail?”
If you have been stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) a police officer may ask you to submit to a preliminary breathalyzer test. If you have not been arrested for DUI you have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test. Consider, however, a refusal will not guarantee you will not eventually be arrested.
A pastor has an affair. A legislator doesn’t pay his taxes. A County judge is arrested for DUI. Each of these criminal or moral lapses makes each of us feel a little less secure about what we always hoped is true: those in a leadership position should live a life above reproach. It’s natural to hold those in a position of authority to a higher standard. Some claim a person can do their job even if their personal life is in shambles, but I would argue self-control is critical to managing and leading others.
Law enforcement was out in full force this Memorial Day weekend. Not only were they looking for motorists who were driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and violating other traffic laws, they were also out on the lakes arresting boaters who were suspected of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to Colorado’s Department of Revenue, Colorado, the first state with legal recreational marijuana, “has sold nearly $19 million in recreational weed in March, up from $14 million in February. The first three months of legal weed have netted about $7.3 million in taxes, not including medical marijuana sales taxes and licenses, which bring the number to $12.6 million.”