Many DUI Charges in Virginia Are Dismissed Due to Technicalities

If you're a fan of the Dirty Harry movies, you may take a dim view of the word “technicality.” After all, one of Dirty Harry's themes is that unscrupulous defense lawyers seize unimportant details to get their obviously guilty clients off, scott-free. While this stance may be emotionally satisfying to movie audiences, it also misses the point. If a police officer misfiles a document, forgets to read a suspect his rights, or obtains evidence illegally, that amounts to an unconstitutional infringement of a person's liberty, not a mere technicality

What does all this have to do with drunk-driving laws in Virginia? Whenever a Virginia police officer pulls a driver over on suspicion of DUI, he has to follow a certain protocol, which includes observing the driver's behavior, administering a series of field sobriety tests, administering a preliminary “breathalyzer” test, and (if the results point to inebriation) taking the suspect to police headquarters for further blood testing. If the officer doesn't carefully keep track of these details, the result may be a crucial, missing link in the chain of evidence. It's not that an obviously drunk, dangerous driver has beaten the system with an aid of a shifty lawyer; it's that this driver may never have been drunk in the first place, since the police weren't careful custodians of the evidence!

If you have been arrested for DUI in the state of Virginia, the criminal defense attorneys of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman are available for a free consultation. Our lawyers have decades of experience defending clients against DUI prosecutions, and will work to secure the best possible outcome for your case.

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