The first step in the driving under the influence (DUI) process is the initial traffic stop and arrest. If you have recently been charged with drunk driving after a Michigan DUI arrest, you should contact an experienced Michigan DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer will review your case to determine if proper protocol was followed and if there was probable cause for a DUI arrest.
A Michigan DUI arrest occurs when you are taken into police custody and are unable to leave. Despite what you may have seen on television, you do not have to be placed in handcuffs or physically restrained in order to be arrested—the officer may simply tell you that you are “under arrest.”
If the officer personally sees someone breaking the law, he or she may arrest that person on the spot. For example, if the officer pulls over and administers a breath test on a suspect who was driving erratically, that driver may be arrested if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit.
A police officer who has reasonable belief that a suspect has committed a crime may arrest the suspect. This practice is referred to as “probable cause.” Probable cause may be used to justify an arrest if the driver refused to take a breath test. For example, if an officer notices open containers of alcohol on the floorboard and smells alcohol when he or she pulls over a suspect who is driving erratically, the officer has probable cause for a DUI arrest even if the suspect refuses to take a chemical test.
If a warrant has been issued for a suspect’s arrest, the arrest is lawful. In order to obtain an arrest warrant, the police officer must submit a sworn statement regarding the reason for the arrest to a judge or magistrate. This warrant must identify the individual who committed the crime, the crimes committed, and the location of the individual.
During the arrest, the officer must protect your constitutional rights—in particular, your Fourth Amendment rights, which protect you from unreasonable searches and give you the right to remain silent. If your rights are violated, your arrest may be ruled unlawful.
If you have concerns regarding your Michigan DUI arrest, contact a DUI defense lawyer today. For a free DUI case evaluation and a copy of The Michigan DUI Book (A Citizen’s Handbook on Fighting a Michigan DUI Case), please fill out our online form today.