Manslaughter and Three Counts of Assault by DWI Sentence Significantly Reduced
DWI Driving Privileges Reinstated
A Lincoln County man was facing loss of his driving privileges for having a blood alcohol content over the legal limit. After a full hearing on the matter, the Court agreed that there was no probable cause to believe the man was driving while intoxicated based on the details Mr. Muhlenkamp presented. The Court reinstated the man’s driving privileges immediately.
Probable Cause Laws in St. Louis
What is Considered Probable Cause in Missouri?
Police cannot simply pull you over without a valid reason—they must be able to provide a specific reason for their initial stop of your vehicle along with any additional detention and investigation. If these standards are not met, a skilled St. Louis DWI attorney can identify any violation of your constitutional rights and use the facts surrounding your case to effectively represent you in court. Muhlenkamp & Bernsen, Attorneys at Law can help you plan your case.
Reasonable Suspicion for a Traffic Stop
In order to legally pull you over, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you have violated the law. This can be any law, such as speeding, not using a turn signal, or not coming to a complete stop. However, an officer can pull you over for a minor traffic violation and then later arrest you for DWI/DUI if there is probable cause for such an arrest.
Probable Cause to Investigate a Possible DWI
Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) was developed in the 1970s by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in order to provide law enforcement agencies with a standardized and empirically grounded way to determine whether drivers were intoxicated (leading to a DWI charge).
The SFST actually comprises three distinct tests, which include:
- The One Leg Stand
- The Walk and Turn
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
Theses tests are often used by police to gather evidence in support of their suspicion that a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. The results of field sobriety tests are not conclusive, however, and there are often ways to challenge them.
Signs Used to Identify Intoxication
Once you are stopped, the officer must have a valid reason to begin an investigation for DWI. They cannot perform field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests on everyone they pull over. Instead, they must have probable cause to believe that you have been drinking.
Some observations that may support probable cause include:
- Odor of alcohol on your breath
- Slurring your speech
- Watery, glassy, or bloodshot eyes
- Alcohol containers in the car
- Poor performance on field sobriety tests
- A positive reading for alcohol on the officer’s preliminary breath test device
- Signs of intoxication, such as stumbling, staggering, or falling
- A statement from you that you have been drinking or at a bar/party
In too many cases, police officers do not have adequate reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop and/or do not have probable cause for a DWI/DUI investigation or arrest. If these initial signs of impairment are not present, then legally the stop should end and you should be on your way with a ticket for the initial infraction. Unfortunately, that is not the way it always happens.
If your constitutional rights were violated, any evidence gathered in light of the violation should not be used against you, as it is illegal. This is why you need an experienced defense attorney to help you through this process. Let our skilled St. Louis DWI attorneys fight to have any unlawful evidence against you thrown out of court.
Call (314) 347-3313 now to schedule your free consultation.
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A strong defense begins with a strong offense. At Muhlenkamp & Bernsen, Attorneys at Law, we will scrupulously evaluate all angles of your case in an effort to achieve the best possible outcome and to help you restore your freedom and reputation.