Why did they arrest me for DUI?
Often, people are arrested for DUI and are absolutely perplexed why. They don’t know why they were pulled over, don’t know what their blood alcohol results were, think they did well in the field sobriety tests, were never read their Miranda rights and yet there they are – arrested and charged with DUI.
First – the stop.
In order to validly stop you at all, not just for a DUI case, the police must have “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity. They must be able to prove that there was some sort of violation that allowed them to turn on the red light and pull you over in the first place. If the reason for the stop is not valid, then any evidence obtained after the stop (any smell of alcohol, any statements by you about drinking, field sobriety tests and ultimately the blood alcohol results) can potentially be suppressed by filing a motion in court. It is not our job to prove the stop was invalid – the prosecution must prove that it was valid.
Next – the investigation.
Do they have to read you your Miranda rights during a traffic stop and DUI investigation? Unfortunately, not usually. Because you are just “detained”, they are not required to read you your rights before asking questions that can hurt you – “Have you been drinking?” “Do you feel the effects of the alcohol?” etc.
But that’s not an absolute rule. If they police do certain things, they may turn your detention into what is the equivalent of an arrest, making Miranda warnings necessary. Without those warnings, any statement could be suppressed.
What about the field sobriety tests? Those are subjective and are always fair game to be challenged in court – either through a motion or at trial.
Was the chemical test done properly? If it was the PAS (preliminary alcohol screening) device – a.k.a. the roadside breathalyzer – those results may not necessarily be admissible against you. The “official” chemical test is the one to really examine. Were the machines used working correctly? Were the recently calibrated? Were there any deviances from the standardized results that gave a false reading in your case? If you did a breath test, did the officers follow the requirements in order to validly collect a breath sample? Did they advise you about your right to have a separate blood test so that you could test it through an independent laboratory?
Can this be reduced or dismissed?
This is definitely not going to be a do-it-yourself project. You’re going to need a local criminal defense attorney that routinely practices in the court where your case will be heard.