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Common mistakes police make during DUI stops

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2024 | Drunk Driving

When law enforcement officers conduct DUI stops, they are tasked with enforcing laws designed to prevent accidents caused by impaired driving. However, despite their training and experience, police officers can sometimes make mistakes during DUI stops. These mistakes can potentially influence a defendant’s legal strategy.

Officers typically stop drivers who exhibit suspicious behavior or erratic driving patterns that may indicate impairment. When they do, they are not immune from making consequential mistakes.

Legal basis for DUI stops

The police must always have reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle for a DUI investigation. If they don’t, that’s a pre-stop legal mistake that can influence a defendant’s case. This suspicion may arise from:

  • Observations of erratic driving
  • Traffic violations
  • Tips from other motorists

Once stopped, officers look for additional signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, such as slurred speech, the smell of alcohol or bloodshot eyes.

Common mistakes made by police during DUI stops

Chemical tests, such as breathalyzers or blood tests, are often used to determine a motorist’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. However, if these tests are administered incorrectly or without probable cause, the results may be inaccurate or inadmissible in court. This is because police officers are usually required to adhere to strict protocols when conducting chemical tests to help ensure test validity and reliability.

During DUI stops, officers are expected to follow specific procedures to help ensure the legality of the encounter. This includes:

  • Administering field sobriety tests correctly
  • Informing motorists of their rights
  • Accurately documenting the events leading up to and following the stop

Failure to adhere to these procedures can compromise the integrity of the stop and undermine the prosecution’s case. Such mistakes can be valuable for a defendant’s response to allegations of wrongdoing.

DUI stops are a critical tool for enforcing laws against impaired driving and promoting road safety. However, police officers can sometimes make mistakes that a defendant could leverage to improve the outcome of their case. By understanding and addressing common mistakes made by police at DUI stops and working with an experienced legal team, those who have been accused of impaired driving can better advocate for their rights.