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Unreasonable Searches in DC DUI Cases

One of the most common constitutional issues in DC DUI cases relates to the search of the vehicle or the driver. Another issue includes the admissibility of statements made when the individual was initially stopped. These acts can majorly impact a criminal case if either of them are carried out unconstitutionally. Read the following information to learn more about unreasonable searches in DC DUI cases, as well as the ways a professional DC criminal defense attorney can assist your defense.

Protections Granted by the Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment rights grant protection against unreasonable search and seizure. In a DUI case, those rights may involve the question of whether the officer had:

  • Probable cause to search the vehicle
  • Probable cause to search someone in the vehicle
  • Justification to stop the vehicle in the first place
  • Probable cause to arrest an individual

It is significant to notes that the protections granted by the Fourth Amendment are granted in all criminal cases.

What Constitutes an Unreasonable Search?

An unreasonable search is a search conducted without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Probable cause is the issue in this situation, and does not fall into any justified exception under the law. 

A warrantless search is a search conducted without a judicially approved search warrant. Searches in DUI cases are conducted without a warrant. 

How Officers Can Avoid Unreasonable Searches in DC DUI Cases

When an officer decides to conduct a search in a DUI case, they must be able to prove that they have probable cause to do a full search. To conduct a warrantless search, they need to show that the search occurred pursuant to one of the exceptions provided in the law. 

Admissibility of Statements

In DC DUI cases, some constitutional issues can occur regarding the admissibility of statements the accused individual allegedly made during a DUI investigation. For example, when an individual is placed under arrest, before they are interrogated or questioned, they should be given their Miranda rights. That includes the right to remain silent as well as the right to an attorney.

How does the Court Interpret the Constitution in DC DUI Cases?

When prosecuting DUI charges in DC courts, the courts follow an established body of law. The courts rely on case law that is promulgated by the DC Court of Appeals. The DC courts also look to the United States Supreme Court and, in some circumstances, the Federal Courts in DC including the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit. Sometimes courts may look at other states’ appeals courts. 

Retaining Attorney After Unreasonable Searches in DC DUI Cases

It is significant for an individual to hire an experienced DC DUI attorney after being arrested because there are many complex issues in a DUI charge. There are issues related to science, technology, as well as the constitution. A weathered DC DUI lawyer can get on top of those issues quickly so they can be litigated effectively in court. A charged individual will want to look for a defense attorney who has experience dealing with these issues, specialized knowledge in this area, and handles criminal cases regularly.

If you believe you have been subjected to unreasonable searches in DC DUI cases, reach out to an expert DC DUI attorney today to take the next best steps towards building your defense strategy.

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