How per se laws might affect a DUI stop

If you’re traveling through Kentucky and a police officer flashes lights to pull you over, the officer must have a justifiable reason for doing so. For instance, if a law enforcement officer records your speed as you pass by and it is over the posted limit, this constitutes reasonable cause to make a traffic stop. If a police officer observes your tires veering over the yellow line or thinks your car is swerving back and forth too much in your lane, a traffic stop might occur based on DUI suspicion.   The legal phrase “per se” originates from the Latin words “by itself.” This phrase can produce a specific result if you are pulled over in a traffic stop because a police officer thinks you have consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel. There are laws on the books in Kentucky and throughout the country called “per se” laws, which stipulate that a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher means you are guilty of drunk driving.   No other DUI evidence is required  If you take a Breathalyzer test because you’ve been taken into police custody for suspected DUI, and your test results show a BAC of .08 or higher, Kentucky law states that you are guilty of drunk driving based on these results alone. The problem with this is that Breathalyzer test results are often inaccurate. If the device was not calibrated properly or a police officer waited too long to administer the test, the results may be skewed.   Facing DUI charges with a BAC level below the legal limit  Just as per se laws specify that you would be guilty of DUI based on a BAC level of .08 or higher without any other evidence, it is also possible to face drunk driving charges if your BAC level is below the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle. How can this be, you might wonder.   If a Kentucky police officer asks you to step out of your vehicle to take a field sobriety test, and you comply but receive a failing score, it constitutes probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving. A police officer might testify that your speech was slurred or you reeked of alcohol. Such evidence enables the state to file drunk driving charges even if your BAC level was recorded below the legal limit.  Everything a police officer says and does affects your case  You’ve probably heard it said that anything you say or do during a DUI stop can be used to incriminate you in court. While this is true, it’s also a fact that things the arresting officer says or does may have a significant impact on the outcome of your case, as well. If a personal rights violation takes place during or following a drunk driving arrest, a criminal court judge might dismiss your case or determine that certain so-called evidence is inadmissible for a trial.  The post How per se laws might affect a DUI stop first appeared on Landon Law.
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