You can’t always count on law enforcement to properly enforce the law. Sometimes, you have to know your rights in order to protect yourself from the inappropriate or downright illegal actions that officers might make in the field. If you are ever in the uncomfortable, intimidating or scary situation of having to challenge the actions of an officer after they have pulled you over for a DWI in New York, it’s a major comfort when you confidently understand what your rights are.
An officer violating your rights may even get your case dismissed. The most common police office mistakes to watch out for when a DWI arrest is made include:
• Lack of a legitimate reason for the traffic stop
• Failure to prove that the intoxicated person was operating a vehicle
• Arrest based on the driver’s statement
• Misconduct at a sobriety checkpoint
• Improper field sobriety and breath testing
One of the biggest errors that police officers tend to make when pulling a driver over for a DWI is the lack of probable cause. If there isn’t any reason for the traffic stop that proves to be legitimate, the officer shouldn’t have pulled you over, to begin with. A legitimate reason for being pulled over would be something like swerving in and out of traffic, failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or driving too fast for road conditions.
It’s also illegal for the officer to place you under arrest based solely on things that you say. If you tell the officer that you’ve been drinking, that can’t be their basis for giving you a DWI. Only after they’ve gained hard evidence from a breath test and field sobriety test can the DWI arrest be made.
A roadside breath test counts as evidence of a driver’s intoxication level only when administered properly. The mistake that numerous police officers make is waiting too long before giving this test. If the breath test doesn’t happen within two hours of the driver being pulled over, the results may be inaccurate, and the evidence is more easily disputed in court. Knowing these important factors may help you in your DWI defense.