The Law Office of James Novak

Police Procedures in DUI Cases

Experienced Phoenix Lawyer Handling Drunk Driving Charges

Whether the police followed proper procedures can have a big impact on the outcome of your DUI case. When the police violate your rights by mishandling the stop for your suspected DUI or your arrest, you may be able to suppress or limit the evidence obtained. If you were arrested for a DUI, Phoenix DUI attorney James E. Novak may be able to help. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor who understands the intricacies of police procedures in DUI cases. He can identify mistakes or wrongdoing committed by the police as part of a strong defense strategy.

Police Procedures in DUI Cases

Typically, a DUI case begins when the police follow a suspect’s car to determine whether the driver is violating the law. Many different factors can lead the police to suspect the driver of drunk driving. Conduct that could arouse an officer’s suspicion includes weaving, drifting, failing to obey traffic signals or signs, failing to signal a turn, failing to pass a test at a sobriety checkpoint, failing to keep lights on, or your car’s brake or taillights being out. In order to pull you over, the police must have a reasonable suspicion you violated the law or are in the process of committing a crime. A reasonable suspicion must be more than a mere hunch that something is wrong. The officer needs to be able to articulate a specific or particular behavior or event that made him think you were driving under the influence or had otherwise broken the law.

After pulling over a car, the police officer will seek for signs of inebriation. The officer may glance in your front seat and observe you closely. Signs of intoxication can include bloodshot eyes, the odor of alcohol on the breath, slurred speech, slow or incoherent answers, different narratives about where a driver is coming from or going to, fumbling to get the driver’s license, and falling over while standing. You may be asked to submit to field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand or the horizontal gaze nystagmus. Field sobriety tests are not always reliable. Additionally, the officer must perform these tests properly. However, if you fail the tests, you may be arrested for a DUI and required to submit to a breath or blood test.

Arizona has an implied consent law whereby you are deemed to have given consent to chemical testing when you receive your Arizona driver’s license. If you refuse to take the breath or blood test once you are arrested for a DUI, your license will be suspended unless you successfully challenge the arrest.

Arrest for DUI

Under Arizona Revised Statute Title 28-1381, the police officer can arrest you if he has probable cause to believe you were driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your blood alcohol content measured at or greater than 0.08% within two hours of driving, or there’s any prohibited drug or its metabolite in your system. If the officer lacks probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, he should not arrest you. In that case, you may move to suppress evidence obtained after the arrest.

Right Not to Incriminate Yourself

If the police want to interrogate you while you’re in custody, they must give you the Miranda warnings. In other words, the police should inform you that you have the right to remain silent, what you say can be used against you in court, you have a right to an attorney, and that if you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed. It may be possible to get statements you made to the police during a custodial interrogation for a DUI suppressed under the Fifth Amendment if police failed to give the proper warnings.

After a DUI arrest, the police will take you to undergo a chemical test. The chemical test performed may measure your breath, blood, or urine for alcohol levels. If your license is confiscated, you will be issued a temporary license that will remain valid until your hearing date. The Arizona Motor Vehicle Department will commence with your license suspension once they have been informed of your arrest.

When you are booked for a DUI, the police will take down your information will be taken down, and fingerprint and photograph you. The police will search a database to see if you have a file. Your belongings will be taken, and you will be searched.

Speak With a Seasoned Phoenix Lawyer

Police procedures in DUI cases can impact the disposition of the charges. Following a DUI arrest, you should discuss your situation with attorney James E. Novak. He can review the circumstances of your case to determine how best to proceed. Mr. Novak is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer with years of experience representing those charged with drunk or drugged driving in Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa and Scottsdale, as well as throughout Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

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I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
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Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.