Constitutional Issues in Hampton Roads DUI Cases

Constitutional issues in Hampton Roads DUI cases are taken seriously, as adherence to the constitution is one of the country’s bedrock principles. The courts take constitutional issues seriously and consider them judiciously when making a decision. By contacting a skilled DUI lawyer, you could learn more about building a constitutional defense and strengthening your case. Reach out to an attorney today for a free consultation.

Fourth Amendment Protections

The most common constitutional issue that may come up in DUI cases in Hampton Roads may be the Fourth Amendment against prohibitions of unreasonable searches and seizures. As defined by law, a search and seizure refers to an officer’s inability to not hold someone against their will and go through their personal property or person without either a warrant or probable cause. For the police officer to detain a person or even have them do field sobriety tests, they may have to show that they had reasonable articulable suspicion to suspect an offense was committed.

The kinds of protections granted by the Fourth Amendment when it comes to DUI cases may include prohibiting searches, seizures, and arrests without probable cause. It may also prohibit blood or breath tests done without probable cause that a DUI offense was committed. The officers have to have more than just a hunch or a guess that an individual was driving under the influence.

What is an Unreasonable Search?

What constitutes an unreasonable search is an officer not having probable cause to believe that an offense was committed and not having a reason to search the person. For example, if the person was driving at a high rate of speed and the officer pulled the person over, it would not give rise to a possible DUI. Driving at a high rate of speed is not enough to trigger probable cause for a DUI.

Defining a Warrantless Search

As defined by the law, a warrantless search is when the officer has probable cause to believe an offense has occurred, but due to the circumstances, the office is unable to go in front of a magistrate and get a warrant. In most DUI cases, a breath test may be done without a warrant.

It may also happen with cases that are transpiring quickly and it is not reasonable to require the officer to leave the scene and go in front of the magistrate. When time is of the essence, the law may allow officers to make an arrest without a warrant. An individual could expect that they go in front of the magistrate and get a warrant as soon as they are able.

What Must an Officer Show for a Search to be Constitutional?

Officers may need to show the following for searches to be constitutional:

  • Proof of valid warrant
  • Swearing of reasoning in front of a magistrate or a judge
  • Circumstances proved to provide enough probable cause that a DUI was committed

These all may be considered as constitutional issues in Hampton Roads DUI cases and could be investigated by a practiced DUI attorney.

Fifth Amendment Constitutional Issues in DUI Cases

Other constitutional issues that may arise in DUI cases are fifth amendment issues. The following could be considered constitutional issues in Hampton Roads DUI cases regarding DUI stops:

  • Right to counsel may not apply to field sobriety tests
  • Individual may not need a lawyer present
  • Officer may not allow anyone to have a lawyer present

Once someone is arrested and charged with an offense, if the officers continue to question someone without being properly advised about their right to an attorney, those statements could be excluded from the trial, and not use as evidence.

Impact of Constitutional Issues on Hampton Roads DUI Cases

Constitutional issues in Hampton Roads DUI cases may lead to either the suppression or outright dismissal of key evidence. When trying to defend a case, lawyers could look for constitutional problems with the case, which are the underpinnings of every prosecution and defense. If they are able to show that there was a constitutional violation key evidence may be suppressed or dismissal depending on the nature of the case.

The interpretation of the constitution that Hampton Roads courts may follow when prosecuting DUI charges is that of the supreme court. If it is specific to a Virginia law as it relates to the constitution, it is up to the Virginia supreme court or the Virginia court of appeals.

Contacting a Hampton Roads DUI Lawyer

Dealing with a DUI offense could be troublesome to take on by yourself, especially if you feel your rights were not honored. Constitutional issues in Hampton Roads DUI cases may be present in your case, and by gaining the aid of seasoned DUI attorney, you could fight to defend your reputation.