The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Posted by Craig Penrod | Sep 09, 2013 | 0 Comments

Our great country is governed by the United States Constitution, a document which not only lets people know the limits of the government's powers, but the system of checks and balances that it created to ensure that these limits will be obeyed.

The Fourth Amendment to the Federal Constitution protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing  the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The United States Supreme Court has made it clear that the primary purpose of the Fourth Amendment is to deter police misconduct.

While the topic of DUI can raise hackles and bring out angry mobs, every person suspected of DUI is afforded the rights embodied by the United States Constitution.

When a vehicle is stopped based upon a perceived violation of the motor  vehicle code, probable cause is the only sufficient level of suspicion. There are  several situations in which an officer will come into contact with a driver,  some examples are:

  • The driver has been involved in an automobile accident;  the officer has responded to the scene and is conducting an investigation.
  • The driver has been stopped at a sobriety checkpoint (also known as roadblocks).
  • The police have received a report, possibly from an  anonymous citizen, that a described car has been driving erratically. The  officer should verify the erratic driving before pulling the driver over. In  some cases, the driver will no longer be in the vehicle.
  • The officer on patrol has observed erratic, suspicious  driving, or a series of traffic infractions indicating the possibility that the  driver may be impaired. This is by far the most common reason for stopping a  suspect.
  • A police officer has stopped a vehicle for a lesser  traffic offense, notices the signs of intoxication, and begins the DUI  investigation.

The following  list of DUI symptoms, from a publication issued by the National Highway Traffic  Safety Administration (DOT HS-805-711), is widely used in training officers to
detect drunk drivers. After each symptom is a percentage figure which,  according to NHTSA, indicates the statistical chances, through research, that a  driver is over the legal limit.

Turning with wide radius
Straddling center or lane marker 65%
Appearing to be drunk 60%
Almost striking object or vehicle 60%
Weaving 60%
Driving on other than designated roadway 55%
Swerving 55%
Slow speed (more than 10 mph below  limit) 50%
Stopping (without cause) in  traffic lane 50%
Drifting 50%
Following too closely 45%
Tires on center or land marker 45%
Braking erratically 45%
Driving into opposing or crossing  traffic 45%
Signaling inconsistent with  driving actions 40%
Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane) 35%
Turning abruptly or illegally 35%
Accelerating or decelerating rapidly 30%
Headlights off 30%

If you drink,  in all likelihood,  you have driven at a time while you were impaired and are entitled to a vigorous defense if suspected of DUI.  The  Law Office of Craig W. Penrod has been involved in criminal and DUI defense for  more than 20 years and is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Certified Criminal Specialist. Contact the DUI  lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod for a free initial legal  consultation if you find yourself facing DUI or criminal charges.

About the Author

Craig Penrod

Craig W. Penrod was born and raised in Arizona and has practiced criminal defense for over 30 years. Mr. Penrod is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, Maricopa County Bar Association, State of Nevada Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


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