Police Misconduct in DWI Cases

One of the more common ways to challenge a DWI charge is on the basis that the police did something wrong. This article outlines some of the ways in which police may violate the law with respect to a DWI charge.

  1. The stop itself may have been illegal. Police cannot stop a car without reasonable suspicion. This reasonable suspicion could include weaving, failure to use a turn signal, departing from a lane, or excessive speed.
  2. Even if the police had a facially valid reason for the stop, the traffic sign or signal must comply with the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices. For example, if an officer stops a car for running a stop sign but the stop sign was obstructed from view, the stop may be challenged.
  3. The police must have some proof that the vehicle was being operated or that the driver had an intent to operate. There are many instances of people being convicted of DWI for sleeping in the driver’s seat. This is true even if the vehicle is parked on private property. If however the defendant was asleep in the backseat and the keys were not in the ignition, the intent to operate can be challenged.
  4. The police must also follow certain procedures during DWI roadblock operations. There must be a system of stopping the vehicles, such as every third car, or even every car. The police cannot however just stop every car that leaves a particular bar.
  5. The police must also follow the procedures set by the Department of Health regarding the operation of a breathalyzer.

This is just a brief overview of the many ways in which police mistakes can be challenged. An attorney experienced with DWI defense can adequately judge the nature of the police conduct and determine if an investigation and arrest was done in accordance with the law.

At the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., our experienced Essex County DWI attorneys can look into the procedures of your arrest and defend your rights if any police misconduct occurred. If you feel police misconduct has left you with a DWI charge, contact our law firm today and receive a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case at 732-773-2768.

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