It can be intimidating to be pulled over for a DUI stop. You may be uncertain about whether your life is going to change as a result of drunk driving charges. You may not understand what the criminal justice process is. Prosecutors take drunk driving seriously. It is crucial to obtain knowledgeable legal counsel. If you were subject to a DUI stop in Michigan, you should discuss what happened with the Michigan DUI lawyers at Michigan Defense Law. We may be able to represent you and we are happy to talk to you.DUI Stop
Under Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, a police officer needs to have a reasonable suspicion of a civil infraction in order to pull you over. A reasonable suspicion is more than a hunch; it is a reason for pulling you over that the officer can articulate. In some cases, an officer observes driving behavior that makes them think that a driver is under the influence, such as weaving or drifting in a lane. Sometimes, however, the reason is pretextual. For instance, an officer may pull you over, claiming that you did not use your turn signal when you made a right turn. As long as the officer has a legitimate reason to stop you, it does not matter if the stop was a pretext to stop the car and investigate. However, sometimes the officer acts too quickly and pulls someone over before they observe an actual civil infraction or because they are afraid the person is going to drive outside their jurisdiction. These stops, if properly challenged, can result in the dismissal of all charges.
During the stop, the officer may examine your appearance, behavior, and speech for signs that you were driving under the influence. Signs of inebriation during the stop could include red eyes, slurred speech, or an admission of being drunk. You may be asked to take a field sobriety test or blow into a portable Breathalyzer. The officer is gathering evidence to determine whether there is probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving. Probable cause is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion. It involves the facts and circumstances within an officer’s knowledge and of which he has reasonable, trustworthy information that is sufficient in itself to justify a reasonably careful person of reasonable caution in believing that a crime was being perpetrated.No DUI Checkpoints
In other states, during DUI checkpoints, the police may stop drivers on a road or highway to conduct a preliminary investigation and determine whether they are driving under the influence. The purpose of these checkpoints is deterrence. DUI checkpoints are not legal in Michigan; they are believed to violate the state constitution.Motions to Suppress
If the prosecutor’s case is based on what happened during an illegal DUI stop, our lawyers may be able to bring a motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the stop. When evidence is obtained during an unconstitutional stop, the court should suppress it under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. When all the evidence obtained during a stop is suppressed, it may be possible to obtain a dismissal from the prosecutor. A prosecutor must be able to establish a case beyond a reasonable doubt. Almost always, if the stop of the vehicle is bad the case will be dismissed because all evidence obtained after the bad stop is suppressed. Generally speaking, the majority of evidence comes after the stop and therefore, challenging the stop of the vehicle is one of the first avenues we explore in every case.
A motion to suppress may also be brought on the basis that there was no probable cause to arrest you and that the evidence obtained after the arrest should not be admitted at trial. In that situation, your statements to the police and the officer’s observations of inebriation may still be available to the prosecutor as evidence. However, chemical tests or post-arrest statements may be suppressed. Under these circumstances, it may be easier to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. However, until a full examination of all evidence is made it is impossible to determine exactly which strategy is best for your drunk driving case. No matter what the situation, there is a strategy that is right for you. We cannot guarantee that any case will be dismissed but we can promise that you will receive the necessary attention from highly experienced counsel in order to formulate a strategy to minimize the consequences of your case.Consult a Knowledgeable Michigan Lawyer
It is important to pay attention to what happens during a DUI stop to the extent that you are able. Sometimes the details of what happened can be important to defending against a drunk driving charge. Fortunately, there are usually videotapes that show the entire stop. If you are pulled over in a DUI stop and arrested, you should talk to our knowledgeable attorneys about what happened. We can work to find the defense strategy likeliest to yield an appropriate result, and sometimes that will involve challenging the legality of the stop. Michigan Defense Law represents clients in Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, and Washtenaw Counties. Call us at (248) 451-2200 or complete our online form.