You have certain constitutional rights when you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving or are arrested. I have previously discussed your right against unreasonable searches and seizures covered by the Fourth Amendment, as well as your Miranda rights under the Fifth Amendment. As a refresher, the Fourth Amendment protects you against (1) stops when reasonable, articulable suspicion does not exist, (2) arrests when there is no probable cause, (3) searches of your person prior to an arrest if there is no probable cause that a specific item will be found on you, (4) searches of your home without your consent or a search warrant, and more. The Fifth Amendment protects you against incriminating statements given by you to Destin police officers during custodial interrogation when you were not first informed of certain rights, including your right to remain silent, your right to an attorney, and that anything you say can and will be used against you. Other rights exist as well, such as your right to a speedy trial and your right to be tried by a jury of your peers.
Motions to Suppress
But what happens when the Destin Police Department violates these rights? U.S. Supreme Court precedent dictates what must happen. However, often times, you can leverage violations to obtain certain concessions from the prosecutor or even outright dismissal. First, I will discuss what must happen.
The U.S. Supreme Court has said time and time again that when your Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights have been violated in a criminal prosecution, the incriminating evidence must be suppressed. Under the Fourth Amendment, this incriminating evidence can be illegal contraband found on your person during a search. If your rights were violated, such as no probable cause to search you for drugs, then the Destin police officer has violated your Fourth Amendment rights. The drugs found in your pocket cannot be introduced at trial or even mentioned at trial. In addition, any charges associated with the drugs must be thrown out. Even better, if your traffic stop is not predicated on reasonable suspicion or probable cause, your stop was unlawful, even if your BAC was subsequently astronomically high. Because the basis for your DUI arrest was unlawful, your arrest will be thrown out. Finally, if you were questioned by the officers while under arrest and you made incriminating statements, even if you fully confessed to driving drunk throughout Destin and Fort Walton Beach, these statements cannot be introduced at trial under the Fifth Amendment.
To ensure that your rights are protected, your Destin DUI lawyer will file a motion to suppress with the court. The motion to suppress will allege a constitutional violation occurred during your arrest and will set forth the case law that supports that argument. The Destin prosecutor will be afforded an opportunity to file an opposition. Your lawyer and the prosecutor will then argue the motion before a judge. During this motions hearing, individuals such as the police officer may be called to testify. At the conclusion of the hearing, the lawyers will make arguments and apply the facts to the law. The judge will then render a decision. If your motion to suppress is granted, the evidence, arrest, or statement will be suppressed. If the prosecutor is unable to make a case after this decision, the prosecutor may dismiss the case because it cannot go forward and prove its burden at trial.
Sometimes, a hearing never even occurs because the prosecutor reads the motion and concedes that a violation occurred. In these cases, charges may be outright dropped or reduced. You may also be able to negotiate for a favorable plea or even diversion.
Contact Our Destin DUI Defense Lawyer to Review Your Case Today
A motion to suppress should not be filed in every single case. Stephen G. Cobb, a skilled Destin DUI lawyer, has experience with evaluating arrests to determine if any constitutional violations occurred. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your DUI arrest, call (850) 669-5882 now to schedule an appointment.
Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm
1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 101-B
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547