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DUI conviction overturned as search ruled illegal

Posted on June 25, 2014 in Field Sobriety Tests

In Arizona, if you are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol when you are in control of a vehicle, law enforcement officers may request that you submit to a number of tests. Failing these tests can often lead to arrest on suspicion of drunk driving. However, choosing not to take a drunk test can also lead to your driving license being revoked. Whatever your choice, it is important to remember that being charged does not mean you will be convicted.

There are very specific procedures that officers must follow when carrying out a traffic stop, search or arrest. If any of these rules are not adhered to, the whole process may be ruled illegal and the charges invalidated. One such case occurred in Oregon when a man was arrested on DUI suspicions, despite not having been seen in his vehicle.

He was called out of his home to talk to police about his pickup truck, which was wedged in a ditch. When he came outside, he had his truck keys in his pocket and admitted to being drunk. The deputy requested that he perform field sobriety tests, which he did. He was then arrested as the deputy assumed he must have attempted to park his truck while drunk,landing it in the ditch.

The court then needed to decide whether the event counted as a traffic stop. Ultimately, a three-judge panel concluded that it did, although one of the three disagreed. Because this then amounted to an illegal search and seizure, the truck owner’s drunk driving conviction was overturned.

It may have happened in another state, but this case illustrates how important legal procedures are in determining the outcome of an arrest. If you are facing DUI charges, an attorney may be of great benefit to you. He or she can help you identify whether any breaches of protocol occurred during your arrest and assist you in clearing your name.

Source: The Oregonian, “Search of drunk Jackson County man in home illegal, despite DUII suspicion, court rules,” June 18, 2014

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