Let’s say that you are driving along on Muldoon Road near Duben Avenue one night and you hear a police siren behind your vehicle. Its lights are flashing and you hear the officer on the cruiser’s loudspeaker instructing you to pull over. A short while later, you find yourself in handcuffs, under arrest and charged with drunk driving.
The whole process is intimidating, from the cuffs to the reading of Miranda rights to the ride in the back seat of the police car, time spent in lock-up, etc. By the time many people are back in their Anchorage homes, they have decided that even if they aren’t certain of the details of the traffic stop, sobriety test and arrest, they have had enough. They plan to plead guilty, accept whatever punishment the court metes out, and try to bring the legal process to an end.
The biggest problem with this approach is that those people have not explored with a criminal defense attorney and are therefore unaware of drunk driving defenses that could be viable in their case and could result in charges being reduced or dismissed.
Let’s take a quick look at DUI defenses that involve improper traffic stops. It should be noted that if the stop is deemed invalid, the evidence gained during or after the stop can be ruled inadmissible:
- Invalid traffic stop because there was no reasonable suspicion (no probable cause) that a crime or violation had been committed
- Traffic stop is invalid because the officer was on a fishing expedition (stopped you because you drove out of a bar’s parking lot, for instance, rather than because you violated a traffic law)
- Invalid because the officer’s suspicion of impairment was based on incorrect observations
- The officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion to stop you because the officer was relying on a citizen’s tip and did not observe any problems himself
That’s just a small sample of DUI defenses that can (depending on circumstances) be viable and result in charges being reduced, rendered ineffective or dismissed. Contact an Anchorage criminal defense attorney experienced in OUI (also known as DUI) defense, as wells as protection of rights and freedom.