While it sometimes may not seem like it, law enforcement officers are subject to strict legal rules about the way they investigate crime. In addition, there are often internal procedural rules designed to ensure the accuracy and veracity of evidence which, if not followed, can result in significant doubt regarding the value of the evidence gathered. Some of the mistakes that law enforcement officers commonly make when investigating a driving under the influence (DUI) case are detailed below.
Failing to properly calibrate a breathalyzer device – Breathalyzer devices are small portable devices that are designed to determine a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) by analyzing a sample of their breath. If they are not properly calibrated, the results can often be inaccurate. The calibration records regarding a particular device can be obtained by an attorney, and if they indicate that the device was not properly calibrated, any evidence obtained from the device may be excluded from any proceedings against you.
Mistaking medical conditions for signs of intoxication – Some of the signs of intoxication that law enforcement officers are trained to look for, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred words, and issues with balance, can also be caused by completely unrelated medical conditions. If a person accused of DUI has one or more of these conditions, it may be sufficient to cast doubt on a law enforcement officer’s assertion that he or she was intoxicated at the time of driving.
Improper search of a person or vehicle – The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that an officer has probable cause before conducting a search of a person or his or her vehicle. When he or she does not have probable cause and conducts a search anyhow, any evidence that is gathered as a result of that search can often be suppressed.
Compelling a chemical test when it is not justified – Law enforcement cannot force someone to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine unless the officer can procure a warrant. In some cases, however, an officer believes that certain circumstances exist that justify a warrantless chemical test. In such cases, a court will review whether such circumstances existed if the test is challenged – if they did not the results of the tests will not be admissible as evidence against the subject.
Contact a Denver DUI defense attorney today to retain legal representation
Anyone accused of drunk driving or any other criminal offense in Colorado should retain legal representation immediately. The law that governs the way in which law enforcement investigates a crime is extremely complicated, and attorneys often devote entire careers to fully understanding the 4th Amendment’s guarantee of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. In addition, the law enforcement procedures involved in properly investigating DUI or any other type of crime can “make or break” a case – if they are not followed, the evidence gathered from any investigation may be excluded or at a minimum be considered extremely unreliable.
The attorneys of the Tiftickjian Law Firm are dedicated to representing the legal rights of people accused of crimes. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Denver DUI defense lawyers, call our office today at (303) DUI-5280.