When it comes to the American criminal justice system, rules and procedure matter a great deal. All citizens are innocent until proven guilty, and evidence obtained improperly or illegally by law enforcement cannot be used against defendants in court.
We have written many times in the past about the importance of Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Without the protective requirement to establish probable cause, police could search any person for any reason and file criminal charges based on what they found.
If you are a Wisconsin resident with a car registered here, you will be issued a license plate for the front and back of your vehicle and the law requires that you display both of them. Not every state has this same requirement.
Earlier this week, we began a discussion about an important recent ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Most Wisconsin (non-commercial) drivers are legally allowed to drive if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is less than 0.08 percent.
We have previously written about the importance of establishing probable cause in DUI traffic stops. If police were not required to establish probable cause, they could pull over drivers for any reason and administer field sobriety and breathalyzer tests just as randomly.
Last month, we wrote about two recent examples where convictions for drunk driving were overturned because the arresting police officers did not have probable cause to make a traffic stop. If we did not have these protections in place, police officers could pull anyone over for any reason.
Law enforcement agencies throughout the country are beginning to use a new tool to aid in the combat of drunk driving. Officers are starting to implement the use "DUI flashlights."
This week, our posts are focusing on challenging DUI charges and convictions. Specifically, we're looking at two DUI convictions that were recently overturned after appeals courts determined that the arresting officers did not have probable cause to pull over the defendants.
For a drunk driving charge to be legitimate, police need to prove that they followed proper procedure. For instance, defense attorneys may try to challenge how a field sobriety test was administered. And at the heart of any DUI conviction is this question: did the officer have probable cause to pull over the suspect?
Last week, we wrote about the Wisconsin man who was convicted of DUI despite the fact that he was never pulled over and no one even saw him driving. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the ruling based solely on evidence from an electronic monitoring device the man was wearing.