You Have Rights. You Need to Make Critical Decisions Immediately.
It was like any other night, and you thought you were fine to drive, even though you did have two drinks. After all, you had a big meal with it, and you were only driving a short distance.
Law enforcement authorities are getting more and more aggressive about pursuing and arresting suspected drunk drivers, and not just because they want to take drunk drivers off the road. While that is a big part of their reason for pulling you over, do not kid yourself: this is also about generating revenue for a municipality that may be cash-strapped due to millage elections that repeatedly fail.
Whatever the reason you were stopped, you were stopped and arrested, and now we need to deal with this.
So, do you really have rights, when you really were drinking before you got behind the wheel? ABSOLUTELY. Did the police have reason to stop you? Did they reasonably suspect you of something? Did they properly administer and interpret field sobriety tests? Did they observe you for the requisite 15 minute observation period, before administering a preliminary breath test (PBT)? Once you were arrested, were you given your “Miranda Warnings”?
When the police took you to the station, did they ask you to take the “Breathalyzer” (more accurately referred to as the “DataMaster”)? Did you refuse or comply?
If they did administer the DataMaster at the police station, did they again observe you for the requisite 15 minute period of time before administering that test?
Finally, do you have a date set for the Arraignment?
Frequently Asked Questions
Once you hire an attorney, he/she needs to immediately get a copy of the Prosecutor’s file, and the police cruiser “dash-cam”. These resources will contain information critical to your defense.
The initial police stop must be justified by some reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. If there is no reasonable basis to suspect you of wrongdoing, there may be a basis to invalidate everything that followed the improper stop, including the field sobriety tests, the preliminary breath test (PBT), any admissions you may have made, and the results of the DataMaster testing conducted at the police station.
With that information in hand, I will be in a better position to file a Motion to Suppress, and indeed, to dismiss the entire case.
Drunk driving is a serious offense, so serious that a conviction may bar you from entering Canada and other countries; so serious that any personal injury judgments resulting from your drunk driving will not be dischargeable in bankruptcy; so serious that a conviction may bar you from certain job, and other opportunities.
Just because you may have actually driven under the influence does not mean you forfeit your rights as an American. Indeed, when you are charged with any crime, that truly is where “the rubber meets the road”, as far as your constitutional rights are concerned.
You have a right to understand the charges levied against you; you have an 8th Amendment right to have bond set at a reasonable level; you have a right to obtain “discovery”, i.e., a copy of the Prosecutor’s file; you have a right to challenge probable cause in felony cases; you have a right to suppress unlawfully obtained evidence, and you have a right to force the Government to prove its case against you, beyond a reasonable doubt.
You may well have some soul searching to do, on the subject of why you were driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol, in the first place. While you do that soul-searching, be assured that I will be aggressively defending your rights in court. Call Jon Frank today.
There must be reasonable suspicion, that a crime was committed, and that you committed it. That reasonable suspicion may come in the form of a citizen complaint to the police, or by means of the officer’s own observation of your behavior. Police are not allowed to simply stop vehicles and persons, because of some vague hunch. An officer’s failure to demonstrate the requisite “reasonable suspicion” may result in the suppression of all after-acquired evidence, and in the dismissal of charges.
Starting in October 2010, motorists with more than .17% BAC are subject to enhanced penalties, for the newly created offense of “super drunk” or “High BAC”.
Still a misdemeanor, a “super drunk” charge comes with stiffer fines and jail time (180 day maximum sentence v 93 days for non-High BAC charge; $700 fine v. $500 for non-High BAC charge); license restrictions for one year, with a “hard suspension” (no driving at all) for the first 45 days; mandatory installation of ignition interlock for the remaining 320 days, at owner’s expense; 6 points v. 4 for “visibly impaired”. Finally, conviction on a charge of “Super Drunk” requires mandatory alcohol education for one year, and not the shorter term alcohol education classes often ordered by courts in non-High BAC offenses.