Police Mistakes That Can Lead to a DWI Acquittal in Minneapolis
The police that patrol the streets of Minneapolis are frequently focused on preventing drunken driving. These efforts are often aggressive and frequently result in the arrest and prosecution of innocent individuals. What’s more, the police frequently overstep their legal authority when investigating suspected acts of drunken driving. When these officers violate the rights of the accused, it could result in the exclusion of evidence at trial or even the dismissal of the case with the help of a DWI law firm.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller have extensive experience with hold the police accountable for their errors. If your rights were violated during a DWI arrest, our team of attorneys could help. Reach out to our DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about the mistakes the police often make.
Unlawful Traffic Stops
By far the most common and consequential mistake the police make during DWI arrests is using an invalid reason as an excuse to pull a driver over. The police have to have a valid reason to stop a driver—they cannot do so on a whim. This valid reason must include reasonable suspicion that some criminal offense has occurred. While the police often use a traffic violation as an excuse to stop a car, any reasonable suspicion of criminal activity could suffice.
What’s more, the police can use a valid traffic violation as a pretext to stop a driver and investigate. If the police have a suspicion that a driver is intoxicated or in the possession of drugs, they could stop the car if they witness the driver speeding or failing to yield the right-of-way.
The problem is that the police often do not bother to use a pretext when making a traffic stop. When they pull over your car for no reason at all, they violate your constitutional rights. This can result in a strong defense if you are ultimately charged with DWI.
According to the Open Policing Project, more than 50,000 drivers are stopped nationally every day. If you are one of the drivers that was stopped illegally, any evidence obtained during your traffic stop could be thrown out at trial.
Failure to Read Miranda Rights
You have a right to remain silent when being questioned by the police during the course of their investigation. You also have the right to be informed of this right. Despite this obligation, the police frequently conduct interrogations unlawfully without first reading Miranda rights. Stemming from the case Miranda v. Arizona, these rights ensure you are not forced to answer questions by police against your will. This is especially problematic if you have invoked your right to a DWI law firm.
It is important to remember that police are not required to read these rights to you before you they speak to you in any context. Miranda Rights must be read when you are in custody and are being questioned regarding the allegations against you. That means the police do not have to Mirandize you before they ask you for your license and registration. However, the failure to inform you of these rights could result in the exclusion of anything you said to the police at trial.
Refusal to Investigate Possible Medical Conditions
Most of the time, the police build their case for DWI on a positive breathalyzer test. It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more, and a test result at or above that legal limit is powerful evidence of guilt. However, there are often explanations for elevated BAC levels that have nothing to do with consuming alcohol.
Some people have conditions that result in fermentation occurring within their body. This can result in naturally elevated BAC levels—even when that person is not drinking. The failure to consider evidence that these conditions are present is a mistake police often make.
The Failure to Wait Before Taking a Breathalyzer Sample
There is a mandatory waiting period before the police can collect a breath sample for analysis in a DWI case. This mandatory waiting period serves an important purpose—preventing false positive breath test results.
There are several ways that you could register a BAC at or above the legal limit due to the police officer’s failure to wait long enough before taking a breath sample. The most common issue is that you could still have residual alcohol in your mouth that could throw off the test. Waiting long enough could ensure that any residual alcohol in your mouth is gone.
Another mistake involves allowing you to have something in your mouth or drink something prior to the test. There are certain substances—including mouthwash or gum—that can register a false BAC reading. If the police do not ensure you avoid eating or drinking before your test, it could lead to an inaccurate result.
Errors in Field Sobriety Testing
One of the ways DWI law firm could help you build a strong defense is by attacking the results of your field sobriety tests. For starters, it is important to understand that these “tests” are highly subjective and rarely establish a person is intoxicated. What little value these tests have is diminished entirely by an officer’s failure to follow protocol.
There are three different exercises that make up the standardized field sobriety tests: the one-leg stand, the horizontal nystagmus eye test, and the walk-and-turn. There are important conditions that must be met for these tests to be accurate. For example, the walk-and-turn test must occur on flat ground. The failure to perform these tests in a reasonable way makes the results inaccurate at best.
There are other potential issues with field sobriety testing as well. Often, other factors outside of intoxication can trigger a failure. For example, a person with physical disabilities might be unable to complete the one-leg stand exercise. An officer that fails to take these issues into account could result in an inaccurate result.
Improper Collection of Blood Tests
While breath testing is the most common method for obtaining a BAC result, there are other avenues available for securing a driver’s BAC reading. The other two options include blood or urine samples. There are different rules related to collecting these samples compared to breath testing. This is because the law considers blood and urine testing to be more invasive compared to breath tests.
To that end, there are strict regulations that come with obtaining a blood sample. In fact, not everyone is authorized to draw blood. Typically, nurses are required to obtain a blood draw. If an officer who is not authorized to do so collects a blood sample, the result of any testing could be thrown out.
There are also regulations regarding the transportation of blood samples. The police must follow careful protocol in transporting a blood sample to a lab for testing. Leaving blood at room temperature could result in inaccurate test readings. The failure to comply with these rules could result in the samples being thrown out.
Police Report Inaccuracies
Every officer that makes an arrest for a DWI in Minneapolis must submit a written report. The accuracy of these reports is paramount, as it is the only public record available regarding the arrest. These records form the basis for the defense’s case, so any mistakes or errors could be problematic.
If the police report is inaccurate, it could cast doubt on all of the testimony of the police officer. Your attorney could carefully review every aspect of the report and highlight any inaccuracies when cross-examining the officer at trial. This could harm the officer’s credibility and put the entire case against you on shaky ground.
Talk to the DWI Law Firm of Gerald Miller to Discuss Your Defense Options
These are only a few of the mistakes police can make that could lead to a DWI acquittal in Minneapolis. DWI law firms understand what to look for when investigating a case, and the ability to notice mistakes made by law enforcement is invaluable.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller know how to ensure the police complied with the law during the course of your arrest. If they failed to do so, our team is ready to have the evidence against you excluded from trial. Contact us today for a free consultation.