The people of Phoenix count on The Law Office of James Novak. Our team is committed to strong legal counsel and criminal defense, which includes educating clients on their rights during their arrest and booking.
By knowing the DUI case stages, clients can empower themselves when their rights are violated. With that in mind, let's explore the arrest phase of DUI cases and what these involve.
The Traffic Stop: It Starts with Probable Cause
Probable cause, as we've previously noted on our blog, refers to the reasonable belief by an officer that the driver of a vehicle or the passengers of a vehicle have engaged in some form of illegal activity. This is often rooted in the concept of reasonable suspicion, which refers to the reason why an officer may believe that a driver or the passengers may have acted illegally.
In the context of DUI arrests, the reasonable suspicion might refer to swerving/weaving while on the road or running a traffic sign. The probable cause for arrest would be the driver exhibiting slurred speech, having alcohol on his or her breath, or failing sobriety tests.
Assessing Sobriety or Intoxication
After a driver has been pulled over, the officer will ask for license and registration. The officer may ask the driver some questions, and then directly assess the sobriety and potential intoxication of the driver/passengers. Apart from checking the driver's eyes and checking for signs of alcohol on the driver's breath, there are two common methods of checking sobriety: the field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test.
The Field Sobriety Test
The field sobriety test is a series of non-scientific tasks an officer may ask a driver to do in order to check coordination, balance, and decision making/thinking skills. This might include walking a straight line, touching your own nose, and counting backwards. Typically a person who is intoxicated will not be able to accomplish these tasks.
A Breathalyzer Test
A breathalyzer test measures the amount of alcohol on a person's breath as a way to assess sobriety. Keep in mind that this does not measure the actual alcohol content of the driver's bloodstream.
Exceeding the Legal Limit for BAC
The legal limit for BAC is 0.08 percent. Exceeding that BAC limit while operating a vehicle is against the law and grounds for arrest.
Other compelling evidence of intoxication may be considered ground for arrest as well, such as the suspect admitting that he or she is intoxicated or any combination of actions consistent with intoxication.
Reading the Miranda Rights
While you are arrested, the officer must read your Miranda rights to you. This is official language that informs a person being arrested of their right to remain silent, that anything they say can be used against them in court, that they have a right to an attorney present during any questions related to the charges involved, and that an attorney can be provided if a person cannot afford attorney services at the moment.
Issues with the Arrest Procedure
If there are any abnormalities in the arrest procedure, including a failure to read your Miranda warning or a lack of probable cause/reasonable suspicion, it's important to fight four your rights and legal protections. Working with James Novak means having a skilled litigator on your side who's committed to fairness and justice for all.
Contact The Law Office of James Novak
To learn more about your legal rights after a drunk driving arrest, be sure to contact a criminal defense and DUI attorney today. You have an ally on your side at The Law Office of James Novak. He will fight for you.