The Most Common Mistakes Made by Law Enforcement Officers in DUI Arrests

Kimberly2 1Author:

Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney

Common DUI Checkpoint Mistakes

A police officer may make specific errors when arresting an individual for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). These errors may be beneficial in dismissing or reducing the charges made against you.

Therefore, understanding your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of law enforcement officers, is important. Some of the most common mistakes law enforcement officers make in DUI arrests are discussed below.

Pulling You Over Without Reasonable Suspicion

Before pulling you over, police officers must have reasonable suspicion based on their observations that you are engaged in criminal activity. Without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, a DUI arrest process is considered unlawful.

If a police officer stops you without reasonable suspicion, all evidence from the illegal stop can be suppressed, and without evidence, your DUI charges can be dropped.

There are several factors that a police officer may observe when forming reasonable suspicion, including:

  • Swerving
  • Drifting
  • Weaving
  • Failing to signal
  • Driving too slowly
  • Accelerating unexpectedly
  • Stopping inappropriately

Police Misconduct During the Traffic Stop

Any misconduct by a law enforcement officer before making a DUI arrest can be used as evidence to get a DUI charge dismissed.

Officers must observe the driver, interview them and ask them to step away from the vehicle. However, if an officer is hostile, threatens you, uses unnecessary force, and calls you derogatory names before arresting you, they will be guilty of misconduct.

Suppose an officer forces, abuses, or strikes you for the purpose of obtaining cooperation from you when administering a standardized field sobriety test (SFST). These actions may render the FST results inadmissible in court.

Failing to Administer Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and Other Preliminary Tests Properly

Three SFTs, including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand, are used by a police officer to detect intoxication.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) trains police officers to conduct SFSTs properly during DUI investigations.

They must also carefully administer the breathalyzer or blood test by observing proper protocol. The equipment used for the breath test must also be calibrated and adequately maintained.

If a police officer fails to administer these tests properly according to the strict guidelines set by the NHTSA, the results can be challenged.

Not Conducting a Proper DUI Investigation

Individuals pulled over by the police must be appropriately investigated to determine if they are driving impaired.

If an arresting officer proceeds to arrest a driver without correctly investigating the situation or merely drawing conclusions based on race, identity, or circumstantial evidence, the arrest can be challenged.

How a DUI Lawyer Can Help Your Case

Our attorneys know the common mistakes DUI defendants make and can evaluate the evidence to determine whether there are grounds for the charges to be dismissed.

We can challenge the police report and the circumstances of your arrest to develop strong criminal defense strategies in your DUI case. Additionally, we can determine if you are eligible for expungement in Missouri if you have a prior DUI conviction.

Contact the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center for assistance today.

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