Unlawful Stop and Arrest in DUI/OWI Cases By Andrew Mishlove on March 16, 2021

Police officer holding a breathalyzerOfficers may justify a traffic stop and drunk driving arrest in all sorts of ways, but that doesn’t mean that the stop was legal. There are many cases of unlawful stops and drunk/intoxicated driving arrests in the State of Wisconsin. Victims of unlawful arrest deserves representation from the board-certified DUI/OWI defense lawyers of Mishlove & Stuckert, LLC Attorneys at Law.

Our team of OWI specialists would like to provide examples of unlawful OWI arrests, focusing on key elements in these kinds of cases. If you or a loved one is the victim of any of the circumstances below, our law offices can help.

What Is Considered an Unlawful OWI Arrest?

Unlawful OWI arrests cover a wide range of cases. Some common types of unlawful arrests may include innocent drivers or officers who had no reason to pull over or arrest a motorist.

The Driver Was Sober

There are cases in which a sober driver is arrested for intoxicated driving. This motorist may have been put through something called standardized field sobriety tests; but we often find that these so-called tests are improperly administered and scored. The motorist may have even “failed” a roadside breath test, but this test is also unreliable.

There Was No Reasonable Suspicion to Pull the Driver Over

Many intoxicated driving arrests begin as traffic stops. The law requires a police officer to have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop. Otherwise, people should be free to go about their business. If a police officer lacked a proper reason to stop a motorist, the arrest could be considered unlawful because there was no reasonable suspicion to pull the driver over.

What Is Reasonable Suspicion?

Focusing on the last example above, reasonable suspicion is crucial in Wisconsin OWI cases.

Reasonable suspicion means that an officer has an objective basis for suspecting a criminal or traffic offense.

Examples of Reasonable Suspicion

Some examples of reasonable suspicion in traffic stops and intoxicated driving cases may include:

  • Reckless or erratic driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving too slow
  • Running a red light

If the officer did not observe a moving violation or otherwise erratic driving, there may be no reason to initiate a traffic stop.

There was No Reasonable Suspicion to Detain the Driver for an OWI/DUI Investigation

Even if there was a proper reason for the initial traffic stop, there must also be a reasonable suspicion to turn a routine traffic stop into a drunk driving investigation. Just because you were stopped for speeding does not mean that the police have authority to order you out of your car for roadside tests. If your speech is slurred, your eyes are bloodshot, and you smell like you have been drinking, then the tests are proper; but in the absence of evidence of intoxication, the tests may be unlawful.

There Was No Probable Cause to Arrest

Even if there was a proper basis to stop you, and investigate a drunk driving, that does not give the police the authority to arrest you. An arrest requires a higher standard of evidence called probable cause. Now, if you failed the roadside tests (and they were administered properly) then there may be a basis for an arrest. In many cases, however, the driver passes the tests, or they are administered or scored improperly. At Mishlove and Stuckert, LLC, our board-certified specialists are also certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, the same training given to advanced police officers. We know how to spot the errors

Why You Need an OWI Defense Attorney 

If you have been unlawfully stopped, unlawfully detained after a stop, or unlawfully arrested, an expert DUI/OWI defense specialist can challenge the case in court. A successful challenge may mean that the charges are dropped. We know how these cases work inside and out. We are trained in DUI/OWI investigation, just like the police. When we review the evidence and we see a problem with it, we know the law and we know how to challenge the case in the courtroom. We have the best credentials and the most experience! 

Contact Our Lawyers about Your Case

If you have been charged with an OWI and need legal advice and counsel, attorneys Andrew Mishlove and Lauren Stuckert can help. We encourage you to schedule a legal consultation online or contact our law offices by calling (414) 332-3499.

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