Police Didn’t Read Miranda Rights

Police have to give you the Miranda advisement when you are in custody and being interrogated. If you were asked questions after being arrested, then Miranda should have applied. If the police violate your Miranda rights, your post-custodial statements will likely be excluded from evidence.  Any evidence that is derived from your statement should also be excluded.

Constitutional Defenses Apply to the DMV

One of the main issues at a DMV hearing is – was there a lawful detention?  That is, did the police have a lawful reason to pull you over or contact you.  If you can show that there was not a lawful detention, you can win the DMV hearing and your driving privilege will be reinstated.  You challenge the lawfulness of the stop directly at the DMV hearing with case law, testimony, and evidence.  This is in contrast to court, where you challenge the lawfulness of the detention with a 1538.5 motion to suppress the evidence.  The same Constitutional defenses that work in court, work in the DMV hearing.

The Police Lacked Justification to stop you

Police officers cannot pull you over arbitrarily.  An officer can only pull you over in one of three circumstances: a 911 call, reasonable suspicion of DUI driving, and/or violation of a vehicle code section.  If there is a Constitutional violation and the officer pulled you over illegally, you can file a motion to suppress in court to get the evidence thrown out. 

Motion to Suppress the Evidence – PC1538.5

A motion to suppress evidence can be filed in court to challenge an unlawful DUI stop, unlawful blood draw, or any other Constitutional violation which is alleged.  If the motion is granted by a judge, the evidence arising from the unlawful detention or other Constitutional violation is suppressed so the prosecution can’t use it against you in court.  Usually the prosecutor will dismiss the charges because the important evidence in the case can’t be used.   Evidence that can be excluded includes the breath or blood test, any statements, field sobriety tests, police observations or any other evidence arising from the unlawful detention.  Grounds for the motion include that the search or seizure without a warrant was unreasonable or the search or seizure with a warrant was unreasonable because the warrant was insufficient on its face, there was no probable cause, or there was a violation of federal or state constitutional standards.

Reasonable Suspicion to Pull You over – Suspicion of DUI 

To conduct a lawful traffic stop, the DUI officer must provide “specific articulable facts” indicating a “reasonable suspicion” that you were driving under the influence.  The officer will try to show this by driving-related observations.  Common observations include weaving, slow driving, or straddling a lane.  You are entitled to a “suppression hearing” where a judge determines whether the DUI officer can meet this standard. If he cannot, it’s likely your DUI case will be dismissed.

Weaving Doesn’t Always Justify A DUI Traffic Stop

Many DUI traffic stops occur because the officer claims to observe the DUI suspect weaving within his/her lane, tires touching the fog line or yellow lane divider, or briefly encroaching into the neighboring lane. Courts have ruled that this may not justify the DUI traffic stop.  Courts have generally held that a stop for weaving is permissible only when there is “pronounced weaving” over a “substantial distance.”  (People v Perez (1985) 175 Cal.App.3d Supp. 8, US v Colin 9th Cir.2002) 314 F.3d 439).  If the court determines that your traffic stop was not justified, the entire DUI case will most likely be dismissed.

Reasonable Suspicion to Pull You over – Vehicle code violation 

To conduct a lawful traffic stop, the DUI officer must provide “specific articulable facts” indicating a “reasonable suspicion” that you committed a traffic violation. Any vehicle violation gives the officer justification to pull you over.  Common violations include speeding, no front license, trailer hitch, or tinted windows.  You are entitled to a “suppression hearing” where a judge determines whether the DUI officer can justify your detention with an observed vehicle code violation.  If the officer can’t, it’s likely your DUI case will be dismissed.

Anonymous 911 Calls

A police officer has the right to pull you over if someone calls 911 to report reckless driving.  The issue in 911 call cases is the specificity of the observed conduct and the location, direction of travel, and vehicle description.  If you can show that the vehicle wasn’t the one described by the caller or that the observed conduct was not reckless, you may be able to get your case dismissed (People v Wells (2006) 38 Cal.4th 1078,Prado Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. (2014)).      

DUI Checkpoints

DUI checkpoints are legal in California if they are set-up and operated according to Constitutional principles.  DUI checkpoints function as investigatory stops that allow police to briefly detain passing motorists to check for tags, licenses, and drug and alcohol use.  You still have constitutional rights at a DUI checkpoint.  For a DUI checkpoint to be legal, it has to comply with Constitutional principles and if it doesn’t you may be able to get your evidence thrown out of court.  In Ingersoll v. Palmer (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1321, the California Supreme Court established a number of factors to determine the constitutionality of a checkpoint.  The court will look at the totality of the factors in its determination of Constitutional validity.         

  • Decision making by supervisors: Checkpoints should be set up in locations with high incidents of DUI arrests and not in an arbitrary and capricious” manner.
  • Limits on discretion of field officers: Strict procedures and a random selection of drivers according to a preset pattern are required to prevent profiling.
  • Maintenance of safety conditions: Checkpoint should be set up to as not to endanger the public or drivers.  This usually requires the proper signage, cones, and lights.    
  • Reasonable location: The location should be based on relevant factors, such as areas with high incidences of DUI or DUI accidents.
  • Time and duration: The timing should optimize the effectiveness of the checkpoint which means late night to early morning. 
  • Indicia of official nature of roadblock: Checkpoint should properly notify drivers of the nature of the DUI stop.  You can’t be pulled over for avoiding a checkpoint unless you violate a law to do it. 
  • Length and nature of detention: The duration of the stop should be minimized so as not to infringe on a person’s rights.
  • Advance publicity: Although not a requirement, advance publicity is recommended. 

Warrantless Blood Draw

In a blood case, a person must consent to a blood draw or the police need to get a warrant if they want to take your blood.  If you do not consent and they do not get a warrant, you may be able to get the blood test result suppressed.  This means the government can’t use the forensic test against you in court.  In most cases, your DUI case will be dismissed (Missouri v McNeely 133 US 1552 (2013)).       

Unreasonable Blood Draw

In a blood draw case, the blood draw must be reasonable.  The law requires that any blood draw that exposes a person to risk, trauma or pain, and was performed in an unreasonable manner doesn’t comply with the 4th amendment.  If you suffered pain, bruising, trauma or pain during the blood draw you may be able to get the blood result suppressed.  In most cases, your DUI case will be dismissed (Schmerber v California 384 US 757 (1966)).

Warrantless Entry into home for DUI Arrest

In some DUI cases, the warrantless entry into a home to affect a DUI arrest is permitted under the law if there is probable cause to arrest and if there are exigent circumstances (People v Thompson (2006) 38 Cal.4th 811).  It is not a blanket rule for warrantless entry into homes but is case and fact specific.  You look at the length of time between the suspects driving and the officer’s entry to determine if the blood alcohol results are compromised by the passage of time.  You also look at whether the officer entered in an unreasonably intrusive manner which would not be legal.      

You don’t have to plead guilty, contact our office today for a free same day consultation

Because you have so much to lose, you need the most experienced and aggressive DUI Defense attorneys on your side.  Whether it’s defending you in trial or negotiating for dismissal, you can count on us.  Our experienced and aggressive negotiating efforts usually result in better outcomes for our clients including reduced charges, lesser jail days, and smaller fines. Call our office today at (916) 939-3900 to speak directly to an attorney about your DUI case.  We are open 24/7/365 to answer your questions.