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%|
|Driving on other than designated roadway||55%|
|Slow speed (more than 10 mph below limit)||50%|
|Stopping (without cause) in traffic lane||50%|
|Following too closely||45%|
|Tires on center or land marker||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%|
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.