Ingham County, MI Drunk Driving Lawyer Discusses When Evidence is Inadmissible in a DWI Case
You were arrested for driving while intoxicated in Ingham County, MI and are now facing criminal charges for violating the law. While your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level may have been elevated, whether it was above the legal limit (0.08%) or not, you believe the arresting officer may have violated some of your rights during the traffic stop. Does this mean your charges can be thrown out?
In some cases, it could be.
If an officer in Ingham County violated your rights during the traffic stop which led to you being arrested and charged with DWI, the evidence used to determine you were in violation of the law could be thrown out.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say an officer pulled you over without identifying the reason for doing so and began questioning whether you had been drinking. The conversation went from discussing where you had been coming from to you being asked to get out of the vehicle and submit to a field sobriety test. During this time, the officer demands that you perform various tasks to determine if you are drunk. He then asks you to take a breathalyzer test that reads your BAC level. The reading reveals that your BAC level is above the legal limit, but not by much. The officer places you in handcuffs and takes you down to the local station for booking.
You learn that you have been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) which carries various penalties including jail time. As you begin to analyze the traffic stop and all the events that followed, you realize the officer never provided you with a reason for stopping you.
Now, you should understand that police officers are not permitted to pull cars over and arrest drivers when they please. In order for a police officer to pull a vehicle over and make an arrest, they must have probable cause to do so. Probable cause “is a requirement found in the Fourth Amendment that must usually be met before police make an arrest, conduct a search, or receive a warrant.” A court will typically find “probable cause when there is a reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed (for an arrest) or when evidence of the crime is present in the place to be searched (for a search).”
But, if the officer lacked probable cause to pull you over, meaning you were not in violation of any law, then any evidence gathered after your rights were violated would be deemed inadmissible in court. Inadmissible evidence is “evidence that cannot be presented to the jury or decision-maker for any of a variety of reasons: it was improperly obtained, it is prejudicial, it is hearsay, it is not relevant to the case, etc.”
Essentially what this means is that if the court determines any evidence was gathered in an unlawful manner (i.e. the officer violated your rights or a state statute), it cannot be used against you (i.e. it would be thrown out).
Will all evidence that was obtained after a citizen’s rights were violated become inadmissible?
Although it should be, not always will your statement be enough to convince the court that the arresting officer violated your rights in order to make an arrest. And this is why you should always hire an Ingham County, MI DWI lawyer to represent you. You see, when your case is presented before a judge, it becomes your word against the police officer’s. Unfortunately, our system is designed in a way that allows many police officers to get away with making unlawful arrests. However, when you have a DWI attorney in Ingham County, MI defending you, you stand a better chance at proving your rights were violated.
Connect with an Ingham County, MI Drunk Driving Attorney Now
If you were arrested and charged with operating your vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), you will want to connect with an OWI attorney in Ingham County, MI immediately. A lawyer will need time to gather evidence that supports your claims that can be used to prove the officer’s actions violated your rights. Proving a police officer was in the wrong during a traffic stop can sometimes be difficult to do which is why you must retain an Ingham County, MI OWI lawyer with experience.
Although the arresting officer may have violated your rights during the traffic stop, the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C., an Ingham County, MI DWI law firm will be sure they are not disregarded again. To learn more about how our firm can protect you and your freedom, contact us now at 517-487-6603.
You can reach the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. at:
1223 Turner Street, #333
Lansing, MI 48906