Perhaps you stopped off at The Washington Club on Washington Avenue to play a game of pool, hang out with your friends, enjoy some good music (and the great mural behind the bar), and have a few drinks to take the edge off your day. Or, perhaps Club Zamora on E. 14th street with a great beer selection and pool tables is more your cup of tea. Also known as a local “dive” is the Long Branch Saloon on Washington Avenue, which offers a great “small bites” menu and an extensive beer selection.
If you have lived in San Leandro or in Alameda County for any length of time, you may also be aware that E. 14th Street near Fairmont Drive is one of the choices for DUI checkpoints. So, assume you have had a couple of drinks with friends and are on your way home when you hear the stomach-dropping sound of a police siren, and you realize you’re being pulled over.
If you should be arrested for DUI, having an experienced Alameda County DUI attorney on board from the very beginning is crucial for a more positive outcome. Call (510) 907-6600 for a free consultation.
When Mistakes Are Made in Your DUI Case
Remember that while you should absolutely minimize the number of mistakes you make in this situation, police officers often make mistakes as well. Any one of the police mistakes made during your DUI stop, your arrest, or the subsequent investigation can potentially render evidence against you inadmissible in court.
Some of the more common mistakes made by police officers include:
Failure to Make a Legal Stop
Police officers need probable cause or reasonable suspicion that a law has been broken in order to pull you over. That being said, in almost all cases there is some basis for this suspicion, no matter how small. In other words, even the fact that your license plate may be dirty can be “probable cause” for the officer to pull you over.
Obviously most police officers are going to search hard for something which is a little more obvious than a dirty license plate, and they commonly look for such traffic violations as speeding, failure to use signals or rolling through a stop sign. If your attorney can show the officer had no reasonable probable cause to pull you over, then your DUI case may be thrown out.
Failure to Properly Administer Field Sobriety Tests
Although police officers are trained on the proper procedure for administering field sobriety tests, because there are so many steps in the process, officers may follow each and every step to the letter, or may forget their training and arrest the driver based on an invalid test.
Many times, officers fail to consider specific medical conditions which could make passing the tests difficult or impossible even for a totally sober person. Officers must also consider the surrounding terrain such as uneven ground, gravel, or hills.
Keep in mind that you can legally refuse to do a field sobriety test, especially if you feel that you would fail due to age, weight, balance issues, or more.
Failure to Properly Administer BAC Tests
A breathalyzer is, when all is said and done, simply a piece of machinery that must be maintained, serviced, and properly calibrated. Machines can and do malfunction, and although officers are trained, they may administer the test improperly. This allows your attorney to challenge the results. The preliminary alcohol screening test is entirely optional unless you are under 21 or are on DUI probation. The BAC or blood test administered once you are taken to the station, however, is not optional.
Failure to Prepare for Hearings & Trial and to Preserve Evidence
Police officers, especially in larger cities, may make several DUI stops and arrests every week. Because they are human (and probably overworked), they may not always have the time to properly prepare for each and every trial.
In fact, by the time your trial rolls around, the officer may not even remember the specifics of your arrest and can only depend on his written report. Further, videos and affidavits can go missing, papers can be filled out improperly or at the wrong time—in short, in our fallible world, paperwork can, and does, often simply disappear. These mistakes benefit your case.
Because the consequences for a San Leandro, California DUI conviction can be severe and far-reaching (potentially $1,000 fine, $2,600 in penalty assessments, 6 months’ in county jail, license suspension, and the possibility of having your car impounded), it is particularly important that you hire a highly experienced San Leandro DUI attorney who will look at every aspect of your arrest, searching for any “holes” in the case against you.
Call Attorney Nabiel C. Ahmed as soon as possible to begin building your defense. Our firm provides free initial consultations—call (510) 907-6600 to schedule yours!