DUI Fourth Amendment Rights
By: Mike Stetzer
The Fourth Amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights that often comes into play during DUI arrests. This law protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. Additionally, it requires a warrant to be issued by the courts in cases with probable cause.
However, there are loopholes in this amendment when it comes to reasonable suspicion of potential danger. This means a police officer can conduct a warrantless search of a vehicle if he believes there are weapons, drugs or alcohol present that may cause harm to the driver or the general public.
Although police officers are given this latitude on the field, probable cause must still exist in order to stop and search a moving automobile. This probable cause is present when there is a fair suspicion that evidence of a crime can be discovered in a certain place.
Unfortunately, probable cause is not organized in a neat set of legal rules that fit every circumstance. Instead, it is based on common sense that should be applied to the facts of the individual incident.
Therefore, an officer is granted more immediate freedom in order to determine if a danger is present and prevent deadly crimes such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In several instances, the court system has supported overriding a driver's fourth amendment rights in favor of better safety on the roads. For example, many courts, including, the Supreme Court, have ruled that highway checkpoints meant to combat drunk driving are constitutional as long as they meet certain requirements.
Also, the court has agreed in various cases that certain behaviors such as failure to stay within lanes, unreasonable slowing down in traffic and refusal to acknowledge law enforcement can be used as an objective basis for suspicion of driving under the influence.
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Being subject to an unconstitutional DUI stop may mean that the charges against you could be dropped or reduced. A DUI attorney can help you understand your options and prepare a defense to the charges.
If you feel your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated in a DUI case, you can connect with an attorney in your state today. Just fill out the form below to begin this no-obligation process now.