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Winning a Motion to Suppress Evidence in a DUI Case

Winning a Motion to Suppress Evidence in a DUI Case
The most common way to attack a DUI case is to file a motion to suppress evidence. The defense counsel in a DUI case usually files it after the initial accusation or indictment has been brought.  A motion to suppress evidence can be brought on a couple different grounds. The most common are: (1) challenging the results of the chemical tests administered to determine blood alcohol content (BAC), (2) questioning whether the police officer had probable cause to make a traffic stop and arrest, or (3) both of these issues. This is one of the key tools in successfully defending a DUI case as, if the evidence is excluded, the state is left with no choice but to dismiss the DUI case.   First and foremost, determine if the arresting officer stopped the defendant for a lawful reason.  Another important point that requires the attention of the defense counsel is the circumstances pertaining to the administration of chemical tests. Filing a Motion to suppress also provides the attorneys the opportunity to cross-examine police officers and additional adverse witnesses prior to trial.  All testimony collected during these motions are captured by court reporters. 
The most common way to attack a DUI case is to file a motion to suppress evidence. The defense counsel in a DUI case usually files it after the initial accusation or indictment has been brought.  A motion to suppress evidence can be brought on a couple different grounds. The most common are: (1) challenging the results of the chemical tests administered to determine blood alcohol content (BAC), (2) questioning whether the police officer had probable cause to make a traffic stop and arrest, or (3) both of these issues.    This is one of the key tools in successfully defending a DUI case as, if the evidence is excluded, the state is left with no choice but to dismiss the DUI case.  Considering every DUI case is different from one another, there is a multitude of ways to assert a successful motion to suppress.

 

In deciding a motion to suppress evidence in a DUI case, the court generally looks at the totality of the circumstances affecting the police officer’s decision to stop, arrest, and test the defendant.  The defense counsel will therefore need to challenge the legality of police conduct at every step of the process.  The earlier the illegality occurs, the better.

 

First and foremost, determine if the arresting officer stopped the defendant for a lawful reason.  The most common question that arises in a DUI defense is probable cause.  Probable cause questions the arresting officer’s judgment and whether the defendant ought to have been stopped for a DUI.  A motion to suppress based on whether or not police had probable cause to make a traffic stop should focus on whether or not the officer had a reasonable belief that a crime was being committed.  It is unlawful to stop a vehicle in anticipation of discovering a vehicle code violation or other contraband, such as drugs, when no actual probable cause is readily apparent.  The attorney must try reading between the lines and look for evidence that points at the officer not having justification to stop the defendant. Thereafter it can be argued that there was not enough evidence for the police to stop the vehicle.  If the police officer did not have probable cause to stop the defendant, any evidence obtained after the traffic stop may be inadmissible during the trial.

 

Another important point that requires the attention of the defense counsel is the circumstances pertaining to the administration of chemical tests.  There are strict guidelines for administering chemical tests and if those guidelines are not followed, the evidence can be suppressed.  Look out for any discrepancies that can potentially serve as grounds for suppressing the test results.  If the motion proves successful, the evidence gained as a result of the test would also be suppressed.

 

Filing a Motion to suppress serves yet another important purpose.  It provides the attorneys the opportunity to cross-examine police officers and additional adverse witnesses prior to trial.  All testimony collected during these motions are captured by court reporters.  Consequently, by using skillful cross-examination at the hearing, the attorneys can limit what police and adverse witnesses can testify to at the trial. This ultimately will increase the defendant’s chances of winning at trial.

 

Exploring the above possibilities before filing a motion to suppress evidence may prove rewarding.

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