A skilled Orangeburg DUI lawyer will examine every aspect of a case, starting with the moment when the driver was pulled over by the police officer. In many cases, what appeared to be a solid case against our client didn’t even get to court. The reason for this: the DUI stop was not legal.
Challenging the legality of a DUI stop isn’t easy. It is essential for you to remember as many things as possible from your interaction with the police. Contact our law firm today if you’ve been charged with DUI.
When Can the Police Pull You Over for a DUI Stop?
Despite what pop culture promotes in movies and comic magazines, the police cannot pull a driver over without a specific reason. There are three instances when an officer can do this, and subject you to a breath test:
- At a properly signaled DUI checkpoint.
- If the police officer observes an open container in someone’s hand (as South Carolina has a strict open container law).
- If the officer has probable cause to believe that you are impaired behind the wheel.
An experienced attorney may identify various potential defenses to the subsequent DUI charge, all related to the legality of the traffic stop.
1. The Officer Did Not Have Probable Cause
The officer will definitely invoke that they saw clear signs of impairment, such as:
- Randomly changing lanes
- Driving too fast or too slowly
- Tailgating too closely
- Failure to signal or yield the right of way.
However, a lawyer may find witnesses or – even better – traffic camera footage showing that your driving style was perfectly normal, within the limits of a sober and cautious driver. With this evidence in hand, the Orangeburg DUI attorney can challenge the legality of the traffic stop, showing that the officer did not have probable cause to pull you over.
2. You Were Specifically Targeted at a DUI Check Point
The basic rule for DUI checkpoints is that officers must select drivers randomly to have their BAC tested. However, there are many instances where this does not happen. An astute lawyer may prove that you were specifically targeted based on:
- Your race
- The type of car you are driving
- The fact that you are driving in an area with a high level of previous DUI cases
- An anonymous tip from someone with a grudge against you
- A pretext to search your car for open containers or drugs.
All these actions are called profiling and are illegal.
3. The Breathalyzer Device Was Poorly Calibrated or Not Working Properly
The decision to charge you with DUI and suspend your driving privileges starts with the result given by the Breathalyzer test. If your BAC level is above 0.08, you will be arrested and your driver’s license will be automatically suspended.
But these devices are not infallible. In fact, in many cases, our lawyers managed to show that:
- The device was not properly calibrated
- The device was malfunctioning
- The police officer was not trained to use the device.
With the breath test result proven to be unreliable, the rest of the state’s case against you crumbles.
4. The Field Sobriety Test Was Not Properly Administered
Passing the Breathalyzer test may not be the end of your DUI stop. The police officer may decide to administer a field sobriety test, even if your BAC is below the limit, but you appear impaired.
Many people who failed this test did so for reasons that had nothing to do with alcohol impairment, such as:
- Wearing inadequate shoes
- Suffering from leg or joint pain
- Being tired or suffering from burnout
- Taking medication prescribed by a doctor
- Getting inadequate instructions from a poorly trained police officer.
Let an Experienced Orangeburg DUI Lawyer Protect Your Rights!
If you were pulled over and charged with DUI, it is essential to seek legal help as soon as possible. As days go by, the stress and the emotional trauma of the situation may cause you to forget essential elements, which a lawyer could use to get your charges dismissed.
Thus, your first and best decision is to get in touch with an experienced Orangeburg DUI lawyer. As a new client, you enjoy a free case review. Call us at 803-353-1969 today!