When police stop you and charge you with a DUI, you may feel like your life is headed over a cliff. However, that is not necessarily the case.
In fact, there probably are more ways the police can make mistakes that will destroy their case against you than there are ways to make an airtight case against you. While certainly the odds are on the side of the police when they pull over a suspected drunk driver, the traffic stop is not the end of the story.
To begin with, Canadian police have the right to stop a vehicle at any time to check certain things, such as whether the driver has valid insurance, whether the vehicle is mechanically fit to drive, and whether the driver is intoxicated. Police need no reason to believe the driver is drunk to stop a vehicle—they can conduct random spot checks.
Once they pull you over, police have the right to ask certain questions, including whether you have used alcohol or drugs. You don’t have to respond, but this can only serve to heighten suspicions and lead police to require a roadside breath test. You can refuse this, too, but if you do, you can face a criminal violation as serious as if you had taken the test and failed miserably. Police also can request a field test and, if you refuse, request a breath test.
Few good outcomes can stem from this sequence of events. Police truly hold the upper hand in these circumstances.
Police Can Make Mistakes That May Work in Your Favor
Because the Crown must prove all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, proving that you are guilty of drunken driving is not a slam-dunk for the police, even if you show signs of visible intoxication. Police must exercise care and precision to ensure a conviction. Often, they do not.
Common mistakes include:
- Failure to read you your rights
- Failure to establish that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated
- Failure to distinguish between “operation” and “care or control”
- Failure to properly conduct physical tests at the scene and maintain a proper
- chain of custody for evidence
- Failure to properly demand that you submit to a test using a roadside screening device, or to use an approved, properly calibrated screening device
- Failure by the police to speak to you in a language you understand
- Failure to inform you of your right to receive free advice from legal counsel 24 hours a day
Police can commit a number of other errors that could invalidate your arrest. Rather than try to learn them all yourself, if you face DUI charges, contact a lawyer to assist you.
If You Were Stopped by Police in the Calgary Area and Charged With DUI, Contact the Lawyers of Bourdon Defence
Police can commit many errors when they pull you over and charge you with drunken driving. Many of these errors can sink their case against you. Consult a lawyer to determine your options. The lawyers of Bourdon Defense regularly represent clients who face DUI charges. Reach us at (403) 474-4143 or through our website.