Denver DUI Attorney
Just because you have been arrested for driving under the influence or have received an adverse result from a chemical test does not mean that you are guilty. In every case there are number of laws and procedures that the police must comply with during the investigation of your case. If the police fail to follow these procedures, then certain evidence may be suppressed or your case may be dismissed altogether. Before you go to court it is important that you speak with a DUI attorney to discuss the defenses that may be available in your case.
Under the Fourth Amendment, every American has the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and this right applies during the entire course an investigation for DUI. To begin with, except in special circumstances, the Fourth Amendment prohibits the police from ever contacting you unless they have a reasonable suspicion to believe that you have broken the law. In a typical DUI case this means that the police must present evidence that you either violated a traffic law or exhibited signs of intoxication. If the police fail to show that the initial contact was not justified, then any evidence derived from that contact is suppressed. At the DMV the result is the dismissal of your case and reinstatement of your license. The most justifications for police contact include: car accident, weaving, speeding, careless driving, wide turn, failure to signal, defective vehicle, driving the wrong way, DUI checkpoint, no headlights, reckless driving, and illegal U-turn. In addition, the police may contact a driver for the purpose of directing traffic, rendering aid, or checking on the welfare of the driver.
In addition, the Fourth Amendment prohibits the police from arresting an individual unless there is probable cause to believe that person has broken the law. Moreover, under Colorado’s Express Consent law the police cannot require a chemical test of a driver unless they have probable cause to believe that the suspect has violated one of Colorado’s drinking and driving statutes. If the police officer does not establish the probable existed, then the results of any chemical test will be suppressed at trial. At the DMV the result of a finding that no probable existed is dismissal of your case.
The police look for a number of facts to establish probable cause. During the initial contact the police will look for several indicia of intoxication including: eyes that are watery and blood shot, thick and slurred speech, difficulty maintaining balance, and odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath. In addition, the police will ask the driver if he/she has been drinking and if the driver admits to consuming any alcohol, this may support a finding of probable cause.
Next, the police will ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests or roadside maneuvers. There are several tests an officer will ask a driver to perform including: the walk and turn test, the one leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. It is important to note that THESE TESTS ARE ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY AND YOU MAY REFUSE TO PERFORM ROADSIDE MANEUVERS. However, if you consented and performed these tests, the officer administering the tests must have done so properly. In fact, there are many factors that can cause a sober person to fail these tests. For example, poor weather conditions, an uneven surface, police lights, lights, noise, and wind from oncoming traffic, as well as uncomfortable shoes can cause a perfectly sober person to fail these tests. Nevertheless, a determination by a police officer that you “failed” these tests is difficult to overcome. Thus, it is important to have a DUI attorney who is familiar with these tests and the common sources of error to help defend you against the officer’s testimony.
If you submit to a chemical test such as blood or breath test, the test must be administered in accordance with regulations administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. These regulations are designed to ensure that the results of any test are accurate and that the results are not contaminated. If the government fails to establish that these regulations were followed, then the results of a test may be suppressed. The regulations surrounding chemical tests are complex and require a detailed knowledge of the science behind the tests and the procedures used to collect, preserve and test blood and breath specimens. Therefore, it is important to hire an attorney who focuses on DUI’s and can help you understand and challenge the results of an adverse blood or breath test.
Every DUI case involves complex issues of constitutional law, science, and police procedures. This discussion only scratches the surface of the defenses that may be available in any given case. The fact is that every case is different and a skilled lawyer can help you help you understand the issues and defenses that may be available to you. Just because you are charged with DUI does not mean that you are guilty. Contact The Adams Law Firm today and schedule a free consultation to learn what we can do for you to help you defend against a DUI.