Can procedural rights be a defense to drunk driving charges?

Even getting pulled over and ticketed for a simple reason, like a taillight that is out, can be intimidating. Yet it could always be worse, as in the case of a traffic stop that escalates into a drunk driving arrest.

New York law typically requires some behavior that gives authorities probable cause to pull over a driver on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, such as erratic driving or ignoring traffic signals. However, an authority that pulled over a car for a traffic stop is still able to pivot, provided that a driver’s appearance and manner creates a suspicion of drunk driving. Those clues might include slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or breath that smells of alcohol. 

Fortunately, procedural rights usually require the authorities to follow a progression. A field sobriety test might be administered next in the above scenario. If the driver also failed those tests, an officer might request a breath test. That test might come back with an unfavorable rest.

Indeed, evidence of a blood alcohol content level over the legal limit of 0.08 percent might seem incriminating. Yet as an attorney that focuses on DWI defense, I have seen cases be dismissed due to reasons such as improper administration of field sobriety tests, blood/urine tests or lack of probable cause. Our law firm thoroughly investigates all details of a DWI arrest, including the police reports and any recorded evidence, such as dash cams. We also have experience in talking with the prosecution about potential plea deals. Before accepting a lesser charge or reduced sentence, we provide our clients with our evaluation of their trial strategy and odds.

If you were arrested on a drunk driving charge, don’t delay in consulting with an attorney. The consequences of a conviction may include incarceration and lost driving privileges. An attorney can jump into the case and start building a strategy.

Source: FindLaw “DUI Stop,” copyright 2016, Thomson Reuters

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Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.

New York Defense Lawyer
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