Invalid Arrest As Legal Defense for DUI Charges
A Virginia DUI charge may be dismissed if the court finds that an invalid arrest was made that resulted in the charges being filed. A traffic stop can be made simply because the officer has reasonable suspicion that you were doing something illegal. However, with a traffic arrest, especially for a Virginia DUI charge, the officer must have probable cause to truly arrest you.
Evidence and Your Invalid Arrest
When your charges for a Virginia DUI arise from a suspected invalid arrest you must be able to prove that there was not enough evidence generated prior to the arrest to allow that arrest in the first place.
When you are arrested for DUI the circumstances and evidence that manifested prior to your arrest are what the court will take into consideration. The arresting officer must have had probable cause to arrest you prior to doing so. Just reasonable suspicion that you were drunk at the time of the invalid arrest is not enough to justify the actual arrest, already if later testing proves it.
If your attorney is able to suppress the evidence obtained after your DUI arrest based on an invalid arrest, the court will not be able to consider any evidence obtained after your invalid arrest was made. This method blood and alcohol tests administered back at the police stop are invalid as evidence, already if they are found to prove you were above the legal limit.
Failure to Respond to Prosecutor’s Argument
In many Virginia DUI situations the prosecutor will argue that their burden to show a valid arrest is only probable cause. Probable cause for an arrest is a lesser standard than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This is also the same standard of proof as in a civil trial, meaning that if this was a civil case and the prosecution presented evidence of everything leading to the arrest, the Commonwealth of Virginia would have proved that it was likely the accused was guilty of a DUI.
However, the point is that although the burden of proof is less strict than proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the Commonwealth’s burden to prove an arrest by a preponderance of the evidence is nevertheless a meaningful burden to meet. Basically, if there is no probable cause for the arrest, it is an invalid arrest and may consequence in your DUI charges being dismissed.
Probable Cause and Your Virginia DUI
Proving that a police officer did not have probable cause to arrest you for Virginia DUI can be difficult to do on your own. You should consult with a specialized Virginia DUI defense attorney to discuss your case and determine your best DUI defense strategy. Your lawyer will be able to determine if your charges resulted from an invalid arrest and build your defense around that point if applicable.
Remember, when in doubt – speak to an experienced Virginia DUI defense attorney. You owe it to your criminal and driving records to get the help you deserve!