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Unlawful Police Stops

DUI & Your Fourth Amendment Rights

In order to be arrested for DUI, you must be pulled over by law enforcement only if there is probable cause. A peace officer is not allowed to pull someone over without a reason or simply because they had a "hunch." You may have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol after an unlawful / illegal police stop. If this was truly the case, then your case will likely be dismissed. Evidence that issues from an illegal stop cannot be considered in a DUI case.

What are some legitimate reasons you can be pulled over?

  • Speeding
  • Running through a light or stop sign
  • Not having your lights on
  • Weaving through traffic or "drifting"
  • Outdated vehicle registration

You can be pulled over if an officer reasonably suspects you are breaking the law. This suspicion must rest on observable evidence. If you were pulled over for a mechanical failure, for example, but the law enforcement official did not indicate what that mechanical failure was, then you may have been pulled over illegally. A police stop can be unlawful on the basis of illegal search and seizure, which is a violation of fourth amendment rights. According to the fourth amendment, individuals are protected against unreasonable searches of their person and seizure of property.

Sobriety Checkpoints

Some people have debated the Constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints. In the state of California, sobriety checkpoints are still considered Constitutional as long as they adhere to certain standards. For example, peace officers are not allowed to subjectively stop vehicles when passing through the checkpoint, but rather must use a principle that stays the same.

A sobriety checkpoint is considered a "random checkpoint" much like the ones used at airports. If selection is not random, then this could constitute an illegal search. If you come upon a DUI checkpoint, you may not divert your path in order to avoid it. This could be considered fleeing police. Sobriety checkpoints are typically set up at night or in the early hours of the morning due to the higher concentration of intoxicated drivers on the road during these times.

Other Affirmative Defenses for DUI Charges

Pleading an unlawful police stop is not the only way DUI charges can be dropped. There are actually many other affirmative defenses against these charges. A peace officer may have lawfully arrested you, but they may have done so improperly. For example, if an officer doesn't follow proper procedures such as informing you of your rights during an arrest this may serve as an affirmative defense. Another affirmative defense is to prove the inaccuracy of a breath or blood test. There are specific procedures that must be followed when administering these tests and if they are not followed exactly, then the evidence they produced must be thrown out.

If you have been arrested for DUI and are looking for a strong defense against your charges, get in touch with a San Francisco DUI defense lawyer at Okabe & Haushalter. Our firm has years of experience defending the rights of those arrested and charged with DUI and have a record of success doing so. To learn more about how our firm could help you, call today!

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Okabe & Haushalter
San Francisco Criminal Defense Lawyer

Located at:
1934 Divisadero Street
Suite 100
San Francisco, CA 94115

Local Phone: (415) 252-8530
Phone: (415) 483-9708
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