I was arrested for DUI even though I was not impaired. What do I do?
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and you were not impaired, the first thing you must do after the arrest is seek the assistance of a professional DUI defense attorney. There are several legal issues that must be addressed so that you protect your rights as an unlawfully accused victim.
The Arresting Officer Must Have Probable Cause
Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, a police officer may not detain or arrest you without probable cause. Any arrest that is made, even with a warrant, must have a probable cause attached to the arrest, otherwise it is invalid.
Likewise, any evidence gathered during this arrest is also invalid and cannot be used. The police officer that made the DUI arrest, even though you were not intoxicated, must have probable cause to make the arrest. Since DUI involves intoxication, there must be probable cause to believe that there was an intoxicating substance involved. If there was not, then the arrest was invalid.
Field Side Sobriety Tests Aren't Always Accurate
Most people do not realize that roadside sobriety tests are more inaccurate than accurate. Tests involving walking, balance, repeating words or eye movements have continually been proven to be faulty or inaccurate. In fact, many of these tests have been proven to be impossible to perform by someone who is completely sober.
Breathalyzer tests also have questionable results. Simple things like the machine not being calibrated correctly can impact the results of the test. If any part of the test is administered incorrectly, the results will be inaccurate. The State of Pennsylvania has already banned the use of these devices because the accuracy rate of tests that were performed 100% correctly were still only 78% accurate.
Additionally, it’s important to note that health factors such as GERDS can affect the outcome of the breathalyzer test. Dental work performed on the day of the arrest and non-prescription cough drops can all cause the test to register inaccurately as well. All of these reasons can lead to a false DUI arrest.
Adding to the Issue: Possession of an Illegal Substance
One issue that must be addressed, based on the state in which you live, is a DUI arrest when no intoxicating substance has been used. In some states, possessing an illegal drug in your car while it is being operated is enough reason for a DUI arrest. The police do not have to suspect you of being under the influence at the time of the arrest; they just need to see the illegal drugs in the car.
This does not occur in every state, so your DUI defense attorney will only look at this possibility if your state allows the police to arrest a person for a DUI under these conditions.
Your Rights after You Have Been Unlawfully Arrested
If your attorney has established that your arrest was false, there are specific things that must be done to clear your name and seek justice. These include:
- Suing for False Arrest
If it is determined that there was no probable cause applied to the arrest, then the victim of the arrest has the right to sue for false arrest. It should be noted that it can be difficult to sue the police department for this type of offense. The police have many protections when it comes to arresting people, otherwise they would arrest no one.
However, the false arrest case can be filed as a civil case against the officer and the police department as a violation of your Civil Rights under section 1983. This section states that the police must have valid probable cause to make an arrest.
- Suing to Seal an Arrest Record
Sadly, even if you are not convicted of driving under the influence, having a DUI arrest on your record can still make your life difficult. This arrest means that you now have a criminal record, and you must admit to this record on job applications, insurance paperwork and rental agreements.
Additionally, this can cause you to pay higher premiums for insurance or be denied for a job or an apartment. Suing to have the records sealed or expunged (removed) will eliminate this from your record and protect you from suffering these consequences. If you have been falsely arrested for DUI, it is imperative that you speak to a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.