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DUI in Arizona: Understanding your rights under the Fourth Amendment

Being arrested and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol in Maricopa County can be a frightening and intimidating experience. First, there is the whole process of being pulled over, asked if you have been drinking and then put through a number of tests. Second, there is that moment when you find yourself sitting in the back of a police cruiser in handcuffs. Third is hearing that you have been officially charged with a DUI and sitting in a holding cell waiting to post bail.

Reasonable suspicion

However, once you post your bail, you should begin immediately planning your defense and that means that you need to make sure your constitutional rights were not violated. One of those constitutional rights is the fourth amendment which concerns search and seizure. Reasonable suspicion is the legal burden necessary to satisfy in order for an officer to legally stop you.

Reasonable suspicion, as related to a DUI, include:

  • Speeding.
  • A taillight that was not working.
  • Failed to stop at a sign or light.
  • Driving in an erratic manner.
  • Crossing over a center line into other lanes of traffic.

Therefore it is important to establish that there was a good reason why the officer pulled you over. If you know you were not in violation than you will want to object to the arrest and question the officer’s proof.

Falsified arrests

A state trooper in Utah is facing a potential class action lawsuit over allegations that she violated people’s rights and falsified her DUI arrests. According to The Huffington Post, the trooper, who was fired last year, has been accused of arresting people for drunk driving when there was no alcohol in their system. One of the people suing her claims he was stopped because he was wearing a Halloween costume. He was forced to take time off of work and pay fees of $3,800 even though breath tests conducted showed no alcohol.

In Utah, troopers’ vehicles are fitted with cameras and they are required to wear microphones. However, in this trooper’s case, she admitted removing the microphone and often the only evidence was her testimony as there were also video feed issues. One sergeant on the force wrote a memo that stated the majority of the trooper’s arrests had no proof that they were under the influence of anything and therefore, were questionable.

Questioning the traffic stop

If you can show that the traffic stop was a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, you have a good possibility of getting the drunk driving charge against you ultimately dismissed. Regardless of how intimidating the judicial system appears or frightened you are, you have the right to a quality DUI defense and to object to anything you do not agree with. One of the first things that you should do is contact an experienced attorney who can examine your case and provide you with legal advice.

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