All around Edmonton, impaired driving laws have tightened in recent years.
While identifying and prosecuting DUI offenders is an attempt by the authorities to make the roads safer, it has led to an increase in wrongful and false DUI arrests.
It is not fair for anyone to face the driving restrictions, heavy fines and the prospect of possible jail time, as well as the potential consequences of a lifelong criminal record if you are wrongly arrested for DUI.
However, to ensure that your immediate and long-term future is not adversely affected, you need a DUI defence lawyer to arrange your release and ensure that the details of your arrest do not appear on your record.
What is a false DUI arrest?
A false arrest is similar to a wrongful arrest but there is an important difference.
A false DUI arrest occurs if the police arrest you for a DUI offence but the evidence gathered does not support the belief that a crime has been committed. You should be released immediately but that is not always the case.
A wrongful DUI arrest occurs if you are arrested by a police officer, who exerts powers beyond those vested in them and without the relevant authority.
Both false and wrongful arrests could be due to an honest mistake on behalf of the police officer.
A good example of a false DUI arrest is when somebody with diabetes is arrested for DUI despite not having consumed any alcohol or having consumed alcohol well within the legal limit for operating a vehicle.
Studies have shown that the breath tests commonly used by law enforcement officers can register acetone (high levels of which may be on the breath of diabetics) as alcohol, up to a concentration of 0.6 mg.
While it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8mg, anything over 0.5 will be a red flag to police officers. You could be interpreted as being under the influence of alcohol even if you have not consumed any.
If you had consumed a single alcoholic drink, your BAC reading may be well over the legal limit because of your medical condition. Should you be arrested, it would be considered a false DUI arrest.
How to handle a false DUI arrest?
Operating a vehicle (including a car, truck, boat, snowmobile, off-road vehicle, etc.) under the influence of alcohol or another prohibited substance is illegal under the impaired driving laws of Edmonton.
If you are convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or any drug (including illegal drugs and over-the-counter medications) you will face criminal charges with the prospect of:
- A substantial fine
- Possible jail time
- A driving suspension
So, it can be very intimidating to be arrested, even falsely, for impaired driving. In such stressful situations, people often make rash decisions.
The calming influence of an experienced DUI lawyer like Alan Pearse can make a huge difference in such situations. He is well-equipped to arrange your release much quicker than attempting to do it alone.
If the police have arrested you and the subsequent evidence does not support their reasons for arresting you, Alan will ensure that you are released without charge.
If you are charged, he will guide you through the legal processes and vigorously defend your rights in court.
Common reasons why DUI may be dismissed
DUI charges are often dismissed before they ever make it to trial.
Unless the law enforcement and prosecutors have watertight evidence, Alan Pearse will find potential weaknesses in the case against you.
It is not uncommon for the prosecution to dismiss the case before court proceedings begin because they are aware of flaws in the case that will be exploited by any good defence lawyer and result in an acquittal.
The presence of a seasoned DUI defence lawyer often precipitates this decision, as do the persuasive arguments and supporting evidence from the lawyer.
Pleading not guilty is nearly always the best course of action in DUI cases because even the smallest error from the police in following correct procedure can cause evidence to be inadmissible and for the case to be dismissed.
Cases are also very technical, relying on the accuracy of testing equipment, so this can often be called into question with false DUI arrests.
The most common reasons for case dismissal with DUI charges are the following:
- Illegal search and seizure: in the absence of a search warrant, the police need probable cause (like smelling alcohol on your breath) in order to search your vehicle for alcohol containers or other evidence of drinking.
- Failing to advise you of your rights: after you are arrested, you have the right to speak to your lawyer and it is advisable you do so. If the police do not inform you of this right, the case could be dismissed.
- Invalid field sobriety tests: unless the police use an approved test in the designated way from an approved device, the evidence may not be valid.
- Breach of constitutional rights: all Canadian citizens have certain rights under the Charter, which need to be observed by law enforcement when stopping, arresting, and charging you.
False DUI arrest and in need of legal advice?
If you are on the receiving end of a false DUI arrest, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced and reputable DUI lawyer to defend you so that you can continue your life without worrying about a criminal record.
For an assessment of your case and advice on the suggested next steps, get in touch with Alan and his team.