When a law enforcement officer makes an arrest based on the suspicion of someone driving under the influence, they are still required to conduct themselves in a legal and fair manner. Common mistakes that police make in a DWI arrest, such as sobriety test administration errors, can affect the outcome of a case.
If you are facing a DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge, it is possible that errors were involved. Those accused of driving under the influence have legal options, and it is even possible that a case could be thrown out.
Common Law Enforcement Errors in DWI Cases
Other examples of common mistakes police make in a DWI arrest include but are not limited to:
- Having no reasonable suspicion before pulling a driver over
- Failing to properly administer a breathalyzer test, blood test, urine sample, or other sobriety tests
- Laboratory errors, such as mixing up a sample
- Off-duty DWI stops that are not permitted
- Not using a standardized sobriety test
- Failure to videotape or document a stop, leading to discrepancies in a case
- Failure to respect the driver’s legal rights
How a Police Error Could Affect Your DWI Case
Identifying police errors is important because they could impact your case. If you can prove your DWI charge was the result of an invalid or improperly administered test, your case could be thrown out. The repercussions of a DWI conviction can be very serious, so your future could be directly impacted by the common mistakes police could make during a DWI arrest.
Common Types of DWI Tests
Mistakes can occur during the administration of any DWI test. Some common types of tests that could be unfairly or improperly administered include but are not limited to:
- Horizontal gaze test: This test requires your eyes to follow an object to assess cognitive function through eye motion.
- Walking tests: These types of tests could include walking down a line or turning, gauging movement and motor skills to check for impairment. Other movement tests include standing on one leg and others.
- Alphabet test: The suspected driver is required to recite the alphabet or other basic knowledge they would easily know without possible impairment.
- Urinalysis, blood, and breathalyzer tests: Breathalyzer tests examine the breath of a suspected intoxicated driver for alcohol, while urinalysis and blood tests require samples for a lab to analyze for impairing substances.
Standardized DWI Tests
While many different types of tests could be administered to assess sobriety, only certain tests could be valid, depending on the jurisdiction. The most universally accepted tests are known as “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” or “SFSTs.” Law enforcement officers receive training to conduct these tests in a fair and standardized manner, but mistakes can still occur.
Why do DWI Testing Mistakes Occur?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2016 alone, over 1 million individuals were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. With more than 1 million arrests, statistically, it is likely that mistakes will occur during the process.
Common mistakes police make in a DWI test can occur for various reasons. Sometimes, inexperience can play a role or improper training. In other circumstances, the chaotic nature of a DWI arrest can prompt officers to act swiftly instead of taking their time to follow procedures.
Laboratory errors or mistakes made while documenting the details of an arrest can also occur. In any case, if you were charged with a DWI, considering the possibility that mistakes were made can help you evaluate if your case could be thrown out in court.
The Legal Penalties of a DWI Conviction
DWI arrests are common, and because they can cause a great deal of suffering, the penalties in these cases are often severe. DWI charges can result in hefty fines, probation, loss of license, and even time in prison.
A DWI charge on your record could affect your future employment. While the potential legal penalties of a DWI charge are daunting, remember that being arrested does not mean you are convicted. If a mistake occurred in your case, you could have legal options to fight your case.
Hiring a Lawyer to Help You Fight for Justice After a DWI Arrest
Being arrested on a DWI charge can be very stressful and uncertain, but you have options. Many people charged with driving while intoxicated hire a lawyer so they can pursue the best possible legal outcome.
There are many benefits to having a lawyer on your side. They can help walk you through your options, manage your expectations about your future, and determine if law enforcement officers made any mistakes during your arrest. It can also be comforting to have a team available to answer your questions, help with paperwork, and offer support.
Our team of lawyers near you is available to discuss your case if you are interested in learning more.
Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Today
If you were charged with a DWI and think a law enforcement officer made an error in your arrest, your arrest could be invalid. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253.
We will talk with you about your DWI arrest and determine if any common mistakes that police make in a DWI arrest occurred. We will also review your legal options and possible next steps with you during your case review.