Constitutional Issues in Montgomery County DUI Cases
Constitutional issues in Montgomery County DUI cases could make or break a person’s defense. These issues examine the conduct in which law enforcement agents conduct DUI stops, and how they arrest and prosecute drunk driving cases. Individuals who are facing DUI cases should speak with a well-practiced DUI attorney. A skilled defense lawyer could review their case and explain their rights.
Common Constitutional Issues in DUI Cases
The most common constitutional issue that arises during Montgomery County drunk driving cases is related to the Fourth Amendment and the right of people to be free of unlawful searches or seizures. For the purposes of DUI law, a seizure is no different than a stop. When a person is in a vehicle that is stopped by a police officer, that is considered a seizure. Any subsequent issues, which could involve a person being arrested by a police officer, also fall within the same category. Consequently, it is important to have an attorney who understands Fourth Amendment suppression issues who can offer the most comprehensive defense possible.
Protections Granted by the Fourth Amendment in Drunk Driving Cases
Individuals are not to be unlawfully searched or seized. That means when an officer conducts a stop of a vehicle, there must be a basis to conduct the stop or an articulable reason to stop the vehicle. Additionally, officers must establish probable cause to place the individual under arrest when they place a person under arrest. There must be something that causes the officer to believe criminal activity more likely than not is taking place. Under those circumstances, the Fourth Amendment is implicated to ensure law enforcement officers comply with the constitutional principle and do not violate the rights of the person they place under arrest or while processing them during the course of a DUI stop.
Right to Remain Silent During DUI Arrests
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution also comes into play as an issue during Montgomery County DUI cases since it deals with a person’s right to not incriminate themselves. People often invoke a right to remain silent or to not answer an officer’s question. They make a determination not to take a breathalyzer test or make statements to officers with the principle in mind of not wanting to incriminate themselves under the Fifth Amendment.
The Sixth Amendment may also be used in a DUI case. It is the section of the Bill of Rights that guarantees one a speedy trial with a fair jury and have an attorney if they wish to have one. The Sixth Amendment allows one to confront witnesses who are making allegations against them.
How do These Constitutional Issues Impact DUI cases?
Constitutional issues are central to DUI cases and can be the difference between winning or losing the case. As an example, cases where a person had an alcohol concentration above the legal limit might only be won in court if the defense attorney identifies a constitutional violation by the officer that could make the breathalyzer test inadmissible. If an officer does not properly review someone’s rights with them at the police station before offering them a breathalyzer test and ensure they understand that they have a right to refuse the test and are not required to take the test, an argument could be made that the breathalyzer test result is inadmissible.
Whose Interpretation of the Constitution do Montgomery County Courts Follow?
The judge presiding over the case listens to the constitutional arguments made by both sides. It is the responsibility of the defense attorney or the prosecutor to make the arguments and provide the supporting documentation. These documents include statutory language, case law, and decisions from the court that support their argument. When these pieces of information are provided to the decision-maker on issues of law, their interpretation of the law is what will hold.
Typically, constitutional arguments are made by defense attorneys on behalf of the individuals they represent at a motions hearing. These hearings are handled outside of the normal confines of the trial. The judge makes determinations about what pieces of information or evidence could be factually heard or when the case may proceed because there might be violations of the law that preclude the case from going forward.
Learn More About Constitutional Issues in Montgomery County DUI Cases
Montgomery County is a court system like any other court system. They take constitutional issues quite seriously. Everyone recognizes that these kinds of constitutional issues are essential to the litigation of a DUI case. Drunk driving defendants may benefit greatly from consulting a hard-working attorney to learn more about constitutional issues in Montgomery County DUI cases. A knowledgeable lawyer could explain how the Fourth and Fifth Amendment may come into play in their drunk driving case and could build a defense against their allegations.