Has this happened to you before? You’re driving on the highway somewhere in Guam. Suddenly, red and blue lights flood your car, and a siren wails. It’s a police officer pulling you over on suspicion of drinking and driving.
Just because you’ve never been investigated for DUI like this before, it doesn’t mean you never will. The Guam Police Department aggressively pursues DUI arrests and is always on patrol. On the other hand, getting arrested and charged with drinking and driving does not automatically mean you must plead guilty or will lose at trial.
Every case is different. Depending on the facts of your particular case, you could have a viable defense to the DUI charges.
Challenging the legality of the traffic stop is one of the most common defenses to a drunk driving charge. You have rights under the U.S. Constitution and other laws, including the right to due process. That means the police must follow the rules when they want to detain, investigate or arrest somebody.
No random DUI traffic stops
Before they can pull you over, an officer must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that you are committing a crime. In this context, that usually means observing the suspect swerving, driving erratically, speeding or slamming on the breaks — things that impaired drivers do. Random traffic stops are illegal.
Probable cause required before an arrest
And the officer cannot arrest you on suspicion of DUI unless they have probable cause based on things like your statements and the results of the breath test and field sobriety tests. Police errors in administering these tests can make it seem like you were over the legal limit for alcohol when you weren’t. For example, the breath test device can be miscalibrated, or the officer could mistake a disability for intoxication during a balance test.
Problems with the traffic stop or other procedural matters can be grounds to challenge the charges in court. Discuss the details of your arrest with your defense attorney. They can investigate potential violations of your rights, bring them to the judge’s attention and fight to get some or all of the evidence thrown out of court.