BIRMINGHAM, Alabama. If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, you may want to speak to a lawyer. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, institutional racism, and the “war on drugs” has led to a disproportionate number of black and brown Americans facing unlawful police stops.
Officers must have probable cause when they stop an individual. If an officer cannot offer a legal probable cause, any evidence gathered or arrest made could be suspect. Shockley & Ransom: Attorneys at Law are drunk driving defense lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama who work closely with individuals who are facing DUI charges. Our firm can review the reasons police cite for pulling you over in the first place. If these reasons are not legal or were based on racial profiling, your charges may be dropped.
Police abuse of power can occur. In fact, the Huffington Post recently reported on an Arizona man who was arrested for a DUI despite having a 0.0 alcohol level. The man was pulled over and the officer claimed the man had bloodshot eyes. The man said his eye irritation occurred after he had been swimming in a chlorinated pool. Despite the fact that the man had a 0% blood alcohol level and showed no evidence of drugs in his blood, he was charged with a DUI. He lost his driver’s license and car, and it was months before he was finally acquitted. The man and his lawyer are suing the police district for racial profiling.
Under the Fourth Amendment, individuals are protected against unreasonable search or seizure. In order to search your car, police must have a warrant or probable cause. While in most instances, police would need a warrant to search your vehicle, during a routine traffic stop, police need only probable cause.
If you have been stopped by the police and believe you are being racially profiled, remain calm. While you may be rightfully angry, try to remain polite. If it is dark, turn on your car’s dome light so that police can see that you are not armed. Don’t reach for your registration until police ask you to do so. If an officer asks to search your car, you have the right to politely refuse. If you consent to the search of your car, anything the officer finds can be admitted in court. If officers ask you to step outside the vehicle, you may also politely tell the officer that you do not consent to the search being performed. You also don’t have to answer officer’s questions. If an officer asks if you have been drinking, you can simply politely say, “I understand you are doing your job, but I am asserting my right to remain silent.”
Knowing your rights and remaining calm is important, but sometimes individuals face charges for a DUI despite protecting their rights and refusing to consent to illegal searches. If you are facing DUI charges, contact the DUI defense lawyers at Shockley & Ransom: Attorneys at Law in Birmingham, Alabama.