You, like many other North Carolina residents, may enjoy going out for a drink or two with friends or family. You may not consider yourself a heavy drinker, but you still enjoy the occasional beer or glass of wine, and do not mind using “getting a drink” as an excuse to catch up with those close to you. Of course, any time you drink alcohol, you face the potential of negative repercussions.
You may have thought that the couple of drinks you had with dinner did not affect you or your abilities. However, an officer pulled over your vehicle, maybe for an unrelated reason, and suspected you of drunk driving after catching a whiff of alcohol on your breath. You may not have felt an immediate panic because you knew you were not intoxicated. However, you still ended up under arrest.
What can you do?
You may have felt flabbergasted when the officer indicated that he or she was placing you under arrest. After all, you did not believe you did anything wrong. Now, you must find a way to combat the allegation of DWI brought against you. One place to start when considering defense options is to look at the way the officer or officers involved in your arrest conducted themselves. You may want to start by asking the following questions:
- Did the officer have proper reason to arrest you? Without probable cause, having witnessed a crime him- or herself, or having an arrest warrant, an officer cannot simply arrest a person on a hunch or whim.
- Did the officer make it known he or she was arresting you? The officer does not necessarily have to use handcuffs, place you in a police car or verbally say you are under arrest, but if you do not feel free to go, you may be under arrest.
- Did the officer read you your Miranda Rights during the arrest or before interrogation? While this is necessary before an interrogation, you still have rights even if an officer does not tell you.
- Did the officer use excessive force? Officers have a duty to act appropriately, and excessive force is often not necessary, especially if you did not resist arrest.
You may need to ask more questions to determine whether inappropriate actions or violations of police procedures took place during your arrest. If so, you may have the ability to use that information during your criminal defense presentation. In efforts to thoroughly assess your situation, you may want to contact attorneys with over 65 years’ combined experience in this area of law.