DUI Charge Issues in West Virginia
If you got charged for DUI in West Virginia, you cannot trust that your accusation is true. Various problems can arise in police investigations against you, including before you even got pulled over for DUI. The police must adhere to strict rules and procedures in these situations, but officers make mistakes, therefore you must be aware of such police errors to best understand the accuracy of your DUI charge.
Below are five common mistakes police make in DUI investigations:
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion: By law, an officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. In other words, they must have a reason to pull you over. Problems with your vigilance, judgment, speed, braking and lane position are all grounds of reasonable suspicion and without them, an officer cannot legally pull you over.
Improper Administration of FSTs: Field sobriety tests consist of standardized and non-standardized methods of determining whether you are impaired. Horizontal gaze nystagmus, one-leg stand and walk-and-turn test are standardized FSTs, while non-standardized tests include the Rhomberg balance, finger-to-nose, hand-pat, ABCs and counting backward test.
However, these tests are challenging for sober people to complete, meaning they are not accurate methods of detecting impairment. Further, officers may erroneously give poor FST instructions and record your test results incorrectly, which can affect your DUI case.
Failure to Issue Breath Tests Properly: An officer must wait 15 minutes from the time they pulled you over to administer a breathalyzer test. This is because your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can rise after you stopped drinking, so if you burp, vomit or do something else during your DUI stop that could result in a falsely high BAC level, then an officer can’t use your breath test result against you. Such evidence may be considered inadmissible.
Inconsistent Reporting: Police officers pull over countless DUI suspects every week. As such, they may take short cuts when handling a DUI stop. Sometimes they copy and paste details from a previous report into an existing report if they determine both DUI incidents are similar, or if they’re simply short on time or feeling lazy.
As a result, errors in reporting the time of a DUI stop, gender of the driver and other details of the incident can be inconsistent. A lawyer can argue that if an officer records false details in their police report, then their claims of having reasonable suspicion to pull you over and probable cause to arrest you should come into question.
No Probable Cause for Arrest: The police must gather sufficient evidence from your DUI stop that would reasonably indicate you are breaking the law. This is called “probable cause.” If, after conducting the proper DUI stop protocol, they don’t have enough proof that you should be arrested, the police cannot arrest you.
However, officers do so anyway. If an attorney can successfully prove that your arresting officer did not have probable cause, your DUI case may be dismissed altogether.
If you’re facing DUI charges in West Virginia, entrust the only law firm in WV that solely focuses on DUI representation. Contact The Wagner Law Firm online or by calling (304) 461-6000!