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DUI Suppression Motions in Los Angeles
Here’s a great article from Zooomr – a tech startup to find the best car lease deals. When you’re charged with drunk driving, not all of your defenses happen at trial. In fact, your attorney might do a great deal of work on the case before your case ever gets to trial. In some cases, there are ways to attack the charges against you before a jury ever hears a word about your case.
Some arguments are appropriate for trial. These are arguments that you didn’t drive over the legal limit and that your consumption of alcohol didn’t influence your ability to drive. Other arguments are more appropriate before trial. These arguments have to do with how law enforcement gathered evidence in your case.
If law enforcement did their work in an unlawful way, you can file a pretrial motion under California Penal Code Section 1538.5 PC. This is called a suppression motion. What your Los Angeles DUI attorney does when they file a suppression motion is asks the court to tell the prosecutor that they can’t use certain evidence against you at trial.
The people who created the U.S. and California constitutions believed that individuals have a right to live freely in society without unreasonable interference from police. In California, the police can’t just stop and investigate a person for a crime without a reasonable belief that they may have committed a crime. They don’t have to have conclusive proof that someone committed a crime, but they have to have a reasonable belief. This means that a reasonable person in the officer’s position must be able to conclude that you might have committed a crime or other violation of law.
The police can stop your vehicle if they have reasonable suspicion that you violated a traffic law. From there, if they have a reasonable belief that you’re intoxicated, they can shift their investigation to DUI. If their belief is reasonable, they can lawfully detain you for an investigation. They can also investigate you just for drunk driving.
If the officer didn’t have probable cause to stop your vehicle, the court can suppress all of the evidence that resulted from the investigation. That means that the prosecutor can’t tell the jury about field sobriety tests or a chemical test. In most cases, you win your case.
At a suppression hearing, your DUI lawyer can call the officer to testify. They might present video evidence if it exists. They might call other witnesses who observed what happened. The prosecutor has a chance to call and question witnesses, too.
After both sides call and question witnesses, you both have the chance to make arguments to the judge about why they should rule your way. A judge decides a suppression hearing rather than a jury. Because the reasonableness of a traffic stop is a matter of law, the judicial system thinks it’s most appropriate for the judge to decide the issue.
Your DUI attorney can work on demanding evidence from the prosecution. In many cases, law enforcement has dash cam or body cam videos available from the traffic stop. This isn’t available in all jurisdictions, so your attorney can help you determine if video is available in your case. If there’s video in your case, it can be a very helpful tool to determining whether law enforcement violated your search and seizure rights.
Working with a DUI attorney is critical to making sure that you aggressively pursue your rights in a drunk driving case. Your attorney can help you make sure that the police followed the law when they investigated your case. They can help you file the right motions and defend yourself to the fullest extent of California law.
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