Police Mistakes

For a review of common mistakes police make during DWI arrests, see the article below from our website www.collincountydwiattorneys.com.

Here is the complete article:

Mistakes the police make . . . and how they can help you:

Before and During the Stop of a Citizen:

  1. Stopping a vehicle on the basis of an anonymous call. An officer can not rely on a phone call to stop you if he does not have a name and address for the caller.

  2. Basing an arrest on the statements of the driver alone. The officer must have independent evidence to corroborate these statements. This often arises when he has not seen you in physical control of your car.

  3. Detaining a driver longer than is reasonable to investigate. The constitution does not allow officers to hold you without limit.

  4. Stopping a vehicle without an articulable suspicion. An officer can not stop you just because he thinks you are suspicious.

  5. Stopping a vehicle because it stops in the middle of the street or it is driving too slow. Unless there is a specific traffic ordinance you are violating, such as impeding traffic, it is not lawful for an officer to stop you.

  6. Weaving within a lane. The statute only requires you to drive as nearly as is practical within a single lane. Some cases hold that one weaving into the shoulder is not enough reason for a stop.

  7. Stopping a vehicle based on a misperceived violation of a law. The officer must be right about his interpretation of the law.

  8. Stopping a vehicle for an improper sign. Street signs and lane markings must comply with Texas law.

  9. Failing to follow the rules of the Department of Public Safety, Breath Testing Manual. These failures may invalidate any alcohol testing.

  10. Stopping at an improper roadblock. There are guidelines that must be followed to validate the stop.

  11. Stopping a vehicle just to check the driver’s license and registration. There must be an actual traffic violation or an articulable suspicion of a crime.

  12. Stopping a vehicle without being able to identify it as the one actually committing a traffic infraction. Officers must be able to convince the Court that they stopped the right car.

  13. Stopping a vehicle for no reason at all. It’s done. Officers usually do not show up in Court for these cases.

  14. Blocking a vehicle’s exit without justification. Officers may not restrict a driver’s freedom to leave without a reason.

After the Stop, During Sobriety Testing:

  1. Giving legal advice. An officer cannot give you legal advice or tell you what may happen to you, legally, regarding your rights or your case.

  2. Coercing you to take sobriety tests or a breath or blood test. Doing so may prevent the results from being admitted into evidence.

  3. Assuming that driving behavior is related to alcohol consumption -weaving due to reaching for a cell phone or other distraction but not because of intoxication.

  4. Turning odor of alcohol into intoxication and using it as evidence of excessive consumption. Other factors that may cause an odor of alcohol include mouthwash, denture solutions, or having an alcoholic drink accidentally spilled on one’s clothes, minimal consumption, etc.

  5. Failing to ask pertinent questions about driver’s medical problems – many medical issues imitate clues of intoxication or are too personal to discuss with a DWI cop.

  6. Officer fails to explain how past medical issues that you no longer consider a disability can cause you to fail to perform the test to his satisfaction.

  7. Failing to disqualify persons who are physically unable to pass the SFSTs. A great number of people cannot pass these exercises even while totally sober. The officer has no comparison of how you would perform the same test on your best day.

  8. Being aware of, but failing to eliminate, distractions during SFSTs such as loose gravel, surfaces that are not level, environmental issues (misting, wind blowing, darkness), flashing lights, etc. These factors are under his control since he picks the time and place for the testing.

  9. Failing to give proper instructions during the instructional phase of the SFST’s. If any one of the SFST elements is changed, the validity of the test is compromised! Officers will later say that he “substantially complied” even though any deviation on your part results in failure.

  10. Failure to give proper instructions during the administration phase of the exercise – if any of the SFST elements is changed, the validity is compromised! The Officer must give proper instructions and demonstrate the test to the citizen in the proper manner before the Walk and Turn Test and One Leg Stand Test can be performed. If the Instructions or Demonstration is done incorrectly by the officer, then the results cannot legitimately be used against the citizen.

  11. Failure to follow proper sequence of the SFST as per NHTSA Manual – if any of the SFST elements is changed, the validity is compromised! The officer cannot just make it up as he goes, although this is how many officers do their job.

  12. Administering invalid “tests” which are not supported by research studies – the officers are using exercises which have a 50/50 reliability rate (flip a coin). Many DWI cops will use tasks that they know have been rejected by the researchers and are not part of the Standardized program.

  13. Tricking the person/driver into taking breath test by suggesting they will be released if they pass the test. Also, reading the paperwork to the person incorrectly or using outdated paperwork – renders the breath test result suppressible. Believe it or not, there are rules that the cops must follow in order to get the breath test results into a courtroom.

These mistakes, and many others, may be cause for legal and factual defenses to a DWI charge. If you have been charged with DWI and believe the arresting officer may have made one of the mistakes above, CALL OUR OFFICE IMMEDIATELY at (469) 619-3800 for a free consultation to discuss these and other issues.

Act Now to Protect Your Freedom, Driving Privileges and Legal Rights:

If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a DWI or DUI within Collin County, Texas and the surrounding cities of McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Richardson, Dallas, Denton, Wylie, Addison, Prosper, Celina and The Colony, Texas and you need the help of an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, call the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson today at (469) 619-3800 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Plano, Texas DWI defense trial attorney.

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