While police officers get trained to spot drunk drivers, they’re not perfect. There are many instances where officers have made mistakes that have led to innocent people getting arrested for DWI. To make sure that you get treated justly if you’re ever pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you should understand the common mistakes that police officers commonly make.
Failing to administer the file sobriety tests properly
Police officers are supposed to give you three sobriety tests when they pull you over on suspicion of DWI. They are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. If an officer doesn’t properly administer any of these tests, then it could lead to an inaccurate arrest.
Overlooking certain medical conditions
There are certain medical conditions that can cause a person to fail a sobriety test even if they haven’t been drinking. For example, inner ear infections can cause nystagmus (the uncontrolled movement of the eyes). Diabetes and sleep disorders can also lead to problems with coordination and balance. If an officer overlooks these medical conditions, then an innocent person could be wrongly arrested.
Not properly calibrating the breathalyzer
The breathalyzer is the machine that police officers use to measure a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). If this machine is not properly calibrated, then it could give an inaccurate reading. This could lead to someone being arrested for DWI even if their BAC is below the legal limit.
Having no probable cause
Even if you’re acting completely sober, an officer can still pull you over if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that you’re drunk driving. However, they need to have “probable cause” to arrest you. This means that they must have concrete evidence that you’re impaired. If an officer doesn’t have probable cause and they still arrest you, then it could be considered a wrongful arrest.
If you are ever pulled over on suspicion of DWI, it’s important to remember that you have rights. You do not have to submit to a field sobriety test if you do not want to. Knowing your rights and being aware of these potential mistakes can help you protect yourself from an unjust arrest.