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Constitutional Issues in Brunswick County DUI Cases

Every court is going to treat constitutional issues seriously. It is the cornerstone of the legal system, and the judges are private citizens of the county as well. They do not want to see the Constitution eroded by local law enforcement. Without probable cause, the rest of the DUI case is rendered moot. This is why it is important that, should you be facing charges, you immediately contact a skilled DUI lawyer so they can work to possibly get they charge reduced or dropped based off of constitutional issues in their Brunswick DUI case.

Fourth Amendment Protections 

Under the Fourth Amendment, a person is protected from being searched for no reason. When it comes to constitutional issues in Brunswick DUI cases, the most common is whether or not law enforcement had probable cause to stop the person to begin with.

An officer cannot pull a car over simply because it is leaving a bar late at night. Rather, there must be a concrete behavior that led the officer to believe the driver may have been driving under the influence.

In other words, law enforcement has to be able to articulate the probable cause that prompted them to interact with otherwise presumably law abiding citizens.

Unreasonable Search 

An unreasonable search is one for which law enforcement cannot articulate probable cause. Law Enforcement cannot say that, in their experience, a particular type of person looks suspicious or a particular type of car.

Instead, an officer has to be able to show the court that there was reasonable suspicion to approach someone and search them.  The protection against unreasonable search is an individually tailored protection, as the reasoning for the stop differs from case to case. It is an argument that comes up often whenever constitutional issues in Brunswick DUI cases are discussed.

Officers Requirements for Search

Law Enforcement Officers need probable cause. In the case of a DUI, Law Enforcement can pull a vehicle over for any number of reasons. For instance, it is legal to pull a vehicle over in Virginia for having one object hanging from the rearview mirror.

Any dangling object is probable cause to pull a person over anytime. Once the driver rolls the window down, breathes into the PBT, and if the Officer can isolate the odor of alcohol or sees glassy eyes, a valid DUI would be issued. From there the person does not have a right to privacy after rolling his window down.

Objects hanging from the Rear View Mirror

Keep in mind that innocuous objects, such as an air freshener or graduation tassel, dangling from the rear view mirror can be valid reasons for a probable cause stop. The theory behind this is that the object can obstruct the view of the driver when turning.

No matter how small, these objects can easily lead to someone being pulled over. Therefore, it is best to avoid them altogether.

Other Constitutional Issues

With regard to other potential constitutional issues in Brunswick DUI cases, one of the most important is the right against self-incrimination. Sometimes a person will be arrested and, rather than read the accused their Miranda Rights, the officer will ask a series of questions in order to get the person in their custody to admit guilt. This constitutional violation is less common than search and seizure issues, but equally important.

Interpretation of the Court

The Brunswick courts tend to follow the interpretation of the constitution laid out by prior and higher courts. The defense attorney will have one version of the argument, the Prosecutor is going to have another version, and the Judge will make their decision. Constitutional issues in Brunswick DUI cases are ultimately decided based on precedents set by previous case law.

Benefit of an Attorney

If there have been constitutional issues in Brunswick DUI cases, a defense attorney will have a good chance of succeeding when they bring them up.

Should you be facing charges, consult a Brunswick DUI lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced DUI lawyer can help get fines and punishments reduced, as well as possibly having the charge dropped.

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