Understanding your rights under the 4th Amendment

Posted by Craig Penrod | Dec 03, 2013 | 0 Comments

The key to showing that the traffic stop during which you were arrested on charges of driving under the influence (DUI) may be having the charges dismissed by convincing the court that the traffic stop was a violation of your 4th Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Persons who have been arrested and charged with DUI in Tempe or Phoenix have described the situation as a frightening and an intimidating experience. In Maricopa County, it is important that you should consult experienced Arizona DUI lawyers like those associated with the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.

If you have been drinking and stopped by a law enforcement officer it's likely that you will be asked to submit to a number of tests designed to determine the level of your impairment. After those tests you may find yourself in handcuffs, sitting in the back of a police cruiser. Once you have been arrested and charged with a DUI you will find yourself sitting in a holding cell waiting for a court hearing after which you will likely be able to post bail.

After your release from custody on bail, it is time to begin planning your defense by consulting with legal counsel to make certain that your 4th Amendment rights were not violated. That means that drivers who are arrested and charge with DUI should be concerned that your protections against illegal search and seizure were not violated during your arrest. The legal burden necessary for a law enforcement officer to legally stop your vehicle is reasonable suspicion. That includes:

  • An in operable taillight or other equipment.
  • Excessive speed.
  • Failure to stop at a stop sign or traffic light.
  • Driving in a manner that is not safe or erratic.
  • Weaving across a center traffic line into oncoming lanes of traffic.

Thus, a law enforcement officer needs to have a good reason for the traffic stop during which you are arrested. You need to object to the DUI arrest and you need to question the officer's reasonable suspicion if you know you were not in violation.

There are allegations in other jurisdictions and states that law enforcement officers have violated the rights of driver's and have falsified DUI arrests. According to media reports, law enforcement officers in other jurisdictions have been accused of arresting drivers for DUI when there was no reasonable suspicion of alcohol in the systems of drivers. If drivers are able to demonstrate that the traffic stop during which they were arrested for DUI was in violation of their 4th Amendment rights, it is possible to get the charges dismissed.

Regardless of how intimidating the judicial system appears or the level of your anxiety, drivers have a right to a competent defense, which can object to allegations and evidence that you object to. It is important that your DUI legal situation should be handled by expert professionals with the experience possessed by the attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.

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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