Constitutional Issues in Colonial Heights DUI Cases

Constitutional issues refer to moments in which law enforcement may procure evidence by violating an individual’s constitutional rights. One of the constitutional issues in Colonial Heights DUI cases that comes up the most is the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and be free from illegal police interrogation. In certain scenarios, constitutional issues can lead to the suppression of evidence that would ultimately be used against the individual being accused of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (whatever the case may be) and with that evidence suppressed, it can obliterate the Commonwealth’s case. If you want to know more about constitutional issues in DUI cases and how they could impact the outcome of your case, speak with a skilled DUI attorney that could answer your questions and advocate for you.

Fourth Amendment Protections in DUI Cases

Another one of the constitutional issues in Colonial Heights DUI cases that often come up are Fourth Amendment issues. The Fourth Amendment protects a person from illegal searches and seizures. What that means is that in a DUI case, the officer based the traffic stop off of some form of driving. The Fourth Amendment is applicable to DUIs in that an officer cannot just pull over anybody and everybody, pull them out of their car, and make them do a bunch of tests without having probable cause or reasonable suspicion that there is some kind of crime afoot in order for them to effectuate a stop and conduct a police investigation into DUI or whatever they are trying to say they are investigating.

Defining Search and Seizure

Seizure in a DUI is more than likely talking about seizure of the person and not items and so seizure of the person in a DUI case means that the person is placed in a position as to where a reasonable individual in that similar situation would not feel like they were free to leave. That can be the standard for the seizure of a person.

Seizure of an item is similar in that an officer procures items that they do not have probable cause to take, they take items into their possession, e.g., put it in their pocket, take in their hand, et cetera. Searching means that the officer, without probable cause, goes through an individual’s pockets or any area that is not already in plain view and they do not have a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement.

Unreasonable and Warrantless Searches

An unreasonable search is one that is conducted without probable cause or does not fall into the realm of one of the exceptions to the Fourth Amendment requirement for a warrant. A search without probable cause is a warrantless search without probable cause and without an exception.

A warrantless search is a search done without a search warrant. It differentiates between a warrantless search, which is a search without a warrant and, under the Constitution, a warrantless search is, by law, unreasonable. Officers need to have a search warrant or probable cause that a law is currently being broken or there is evidence of crime in the area which should be searched; then one of the exceptions applies.

How a Colonial Heights DUI Attorney Could Help

Even if an individual has been charged with a DUI offense, they are still entitled to having their constitutional rights respected. The courts follow the laws of the Supreme Court of the United States, then the Virginia Supreme Court, then the Virginia Court of Appeals, and then local circuit court rules. All constitutional issues are treated with some level of seriousness. Even if a judge ultimately disagrees that a constitutional issue was violated, they still will listen to the facts and make a determination based off of those facts. That is why it is important to work with an attorney that has experience with constitutional issues in Colonial Heights DUI cases. A dedicated DUI lawyer could use those constitutional issues to question the prosecution’s evidence, strengthening your defense. Speak with a capable attorney that could pursue a positive outcome for you.