Articles Posted in Fourth Amendment

When you have been arrested for suspicion of a Los Angeles DUI, officers will ask you to take a field sobriety test at the scene of the arrest. This test is not mandatory, and is voluntary. This means that you do not have to submit to it, and there are no consequences. However, if you are arrested, you will be required to take one at the station. This test can be a breath test, or a blood test. There used to also be a urine test option but that is no longer the case.

Oftentimes people do not want to take the breath test and opt for the blood test. For example, they may have asthma and are unable to blow hard enough into the breathalyzer machine. If they opt for the blood test, then those results will be provided in two weeks.

However, in certain situations people refuse to take either test. They may have a fear of needles, or they may simply not agree to submit to a test. If you refuse to take either test, it could be categorized as a refusal, and a refusal will be considered an aggravating factor when and if you are sentenced for a DUI. This means that the sentence will be on the higher end of the range, or will have added sentencing because of the refusal or take a test. It is viewed as being uncooperative.

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If you have been charged with suspicion of driving under the influence, there is a whole process that must be completed prior to having been found guilty. Your case may be dismissed right from the very onset, before you even set foot in court.

When you are arrested, the officer who arrests you prepares a report and submits it to the Prosecutor’s office. Prosecutor’s will review the report and make a determination as to whether or not there is sufficient evidence to charge the driver and to take the case to trial. If the evidence is not sufficient, the case will be dismissed before it even gets to criminal court.

Once a case has already gone to trial, there are a number of ways to work towards a dismissal. A Los Angeles DUI Lawyer will take the time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and will work towards a strategy that leads towards dismissal, or in the very least, a reduction of charges.

Your constitutional rights are applicable to a DUI arrest, just like in any other arrest. When an officer stops you for suspicion of a DUI, they can only obtain evidence within the guidelines of the Fourth Amendment. They must have reasonable cause, and suspicion to do so. In order to illustrate the concept, let’s discuss a few examples.

Danny is driving home from a networking event. He has had a few glasses of wine throughout the evening. Officers see him pull out of the parking lot and they start following him. Danny observes all traffic signals, and is driving within the traffic guidelines. After following him for about 25 minutes, officers get tired and pull him over. When Danny asks why he has been pulled over, officers tell him that it is because they think he has been drinking.

This is not a sufficient ground for pulling Danny over. In order for officers to pull him over, they must have reasonable grounds. This includes regular traffic violations, a DUI checkpoint, or a welfare stop. In the example, none of these reasons existed. Officers cannot pull someone over simply because they believe someone was drinking. It is a violation of your fourth amendment rights, and it is an unreasonable search and seizure.

In the previous blog, there was discussion on possible defenses for DUI. While an arrest is stressful and often traumatic, it does not necessarily have to lead to a conviction if the right defenses are available. The strength of each available defense will depend on the specific facts of your case. A thorough discussion of the each available defense with an experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer will help you determine what your options are and if any of the defenses will work in your favor.

In Part 1, two defenses were discussed; No driving, and Inaccuracy of test results. There are additional defenses available, with one of the strongest being a good lawyer who is aggressive and familiar with not only the law and procedure, but also the Judges and Prosecutors themselves.

Fourth Amendment Rights

If you have been arrested for suspicion of a DUI, you still have yet to be found guilty. The process of being found guilty or not guilty of a DUI will occur through the criminal justice system. Either you may plead guilty, or you have the option to stand trial and be found guilty or not guilty by a jury of your peers.

Throughout the process of your criminal case, the Prosecutor will present evidence that they believe proves their case for a DUI. In order for a Prosecutor to find you guilty of a DUI, they must prove that you are guilty of each of the elements of a DUI, beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements include that the person was driving and that the person was intoxicated.

Throughout the process of the case, evidence will be presented by both sides. You also have the right to present evidence. Evidence will include testimony, any blood alcohol tests, officer reports, and any other items that are admissible under the evidence code to either prove or disprove the elements of the case.

The evidence code prevents certain pieces of evidence from being admitted. Additionally, of evidence is not obtained properly, then it may also be excluded. For example, oftentimes blood tests may be excluded. If crucial evidence is successfully excluded, this could lead to the dismissal of your case.

Let’s consider an example:
Donna has been arrested on suspicion of a DUI. During her arrest, she refused to have her blood drawn and did not give her consent. However, officers drew her blood despite this fact.

In accordance, with case law, officers cannot draw your blood without your consent. Doing so is a violation of your fourth amendment rights.

Having an experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney represent you in court has its benefits. Attorneys know the procedure and what motions need to be filed that will suppress the evidence. One such motion is called a Wilder Motion. A Wilder motion is generally filed by criminal attorneys to request suppression of evidence, however, it does not state any arguments or facts which benefits the attorney’s argument.

If you have been arrested for suspicion of a DUI, it is important to contact a DUI attorney. An attorney will provide you with the advice and guidance that you need. A criminal charge is a serious charge and can lead to long term consequences. Assure that you have the best possible argument in your favor so that the case is dismissed or in the very least, reduced.

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When you have been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer must have reasonable suspicion before he requests that you complete any field sobriety tests or blood alcohol tests. This reasonable suspicion can arise from admissions of the driver. For example, if the officer asks the driver if he or she has been drinking, and the driver responds in the positive. If the driver has not made any admissions, the officer may still obtain reasonable cause by observations. For example, if the driver has red watery eyes, is slurring or smells like alcohol.

The officer, after having obtained reasonable suspicion may ask you to complete some field sobriety tests. Upon completing the field sobriety tests, if the officer feels that further tests are warranted, he will ask that you submit to a breathalyzer, or ask that you take a blood test so that an accurate measurement of your blood alcohol can be taken.

The test that is administered at the arrest location is not mandatory. This is referred to as the preliminary alcohol test. However, the one administered at the station is. If you refuse to take this second test, and are found guilty of driving under the influence, you could potentially face an increased sentence due to your refusal.

Each and every person in the United States has constitutional rights that cannot be taken away from them without due process. One of the most important rights is the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

Unreasonable search and seizure means that evidence for any kind of prosecution or case may not be gathered unreasonably, and through a violation of privacy. A person’s car, home, or personal space may not be searched without reasonable cause.

This does not mean that officers may not obtain evidence from a person’s home, vehicle or private space. It means that they must first obtain a warrant. To obtain a warrant they must present their evidence to a judge and demonstrate that there is a strong probability that the evidence they are searching for exists in that person’s personal space and they have a valid reason to violate their privacy, despite the person’s Fourth Amendment rights. If evidence is obtained with a warrant, it is obtained reasonably.

The Constitution grants you many rights, that cannot be taken away without due process. One of the most important and relevant rights is the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful search and seizure.

This right applies heavily to DUI situations. Officers are not allowed to search your vehicle, or home, unless they have a proper warrant. In certain situations, they are unable to obtain a warrant due to exigent circumstances and have the right to search immediately. However, in order to search without a proper warrant the officers must have probably cause and must be able to support their reasonable cause.

If there is no reasonable cause, then the officers have obtained evidence illegally, and that evidence must be thrown out, or suppressed.

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