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Drunk Driving Impacts of US v. Herring on DUI Defense

Any lawyer for drunk driving should be well aware of how Herring v. United impacts DUI defense. In the case, a warrant check revealed there was an active warrant for the suspect’s arrest. For that reason alone, the police followed the defendant’s vehicle, pulled him over and arrested him. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed illegal drugs and an illegal pistol. This type of situation can easily apply to any number of cases a lawyer for drunk driving could be involved in.

The catch is that there was a problem with the warrant, which had been recalled 5 months earlier. This was due to a bookkeeping error, and officer attempted to corroborate the warrant, which lead to the discovery of a mix up within 5 to 15 minutes. Either way, the suspect was nailed and in need of a lawyer for drunk driving. If you can prove that the police record system has so many problems that even the police can’t rely on it, your lawyer for drunk driving might be able to make a case.

The court concluded that a 4th amendment violation occurred, creating a precedent that helps a lawyer for drunk driving protect his or her client. The issue was whether the exclusionary rule was an appropriate measure. Courts have previously ruled that the “fruits of an illegal arrest should not be suppressed.”

The exclusionary rule is not a given right that a lawyer for drunk driving can use to protect clients. It applies only to cases of appreciable deterrence. Plus, the benefits to deterrence must outweigh the costs.  The extent to which the exclusionary applies also depends on the culpability of the law enforcement conduct. To trigger the exclusionary rule, police must act sufficiently deliberate that exclusion can momentarily deter it, and sufficiently culpable that such deterrence is worth the price paid by the legal system.

The court did not suggest that all record keeping errors by police are immune from the exclusionary rule, but only in cases where the conduct at issue is objectively culpable as to require extension. If police have been shown to be reckless in maintaining a warrant system, or have knowingly made false entries to lay the groundwork for arrests, exclusion is certainly justified and in the best interest of someone needing a lawyer for drunk driving.

Herring has important implications for anyone needing a lawyer for drunk driving. Many drivers are pulled over solely because a police officer or automated license scanner has run a license plate number on them and determined that the license or registration is suspended or revoked. However, many of these records are not up to date, leading to people being pulled over and in need of a lawyer for drunk driving.

These sorts of stops and the subsequent arrest would only be invalid if it could be determined that the record system was so plagued by errors that it would be reckless for police to rely on it. The system has to be pretty far broken to really be much interest for a lawyer for drunk driving.

About the Author
David Michael Cantor is an AV rated (the highest possible rating) lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. For more information about a Phoenix Lawyer for drunk driving, visit our site.

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