Legal Blog

5 Common Police Mistakes in Indianapolis Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Cases

01 January 2021 | OWI,  

Attorney Sean Hessler

Written by
Sean Hessler

01 January 2021


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An Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated arrest – or OVWI arrest – in Indianapolis could start many ways. But like people in any profession, police officers make mistakes. If one or multiple errors occurred in your case, perhaps you never should’ve been arrested. Identifying them could even result in your OVWI charge being dropped or reduced.

At Hessler Law PC, we see police mistakes all too often when it comes to OVWI arrests. If you’re facing DUI charges and possible loss of your license, call us immediately to get started on your defense.

For a free consultation with DUI attorney Sean Hessler, call (317) 886-8800 or contact us online.

Here are some of the most common errors in Indianapolis OVWI cases:

1. There Wasn’t Probable Cause To Stop and Test You

Before you’re stopped for a potential OVWI, the officer needs a reasonable suspicion you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You can’t be pulled over because of what you drive, your race, where you are, or a “hunch” by the officer. There must be a valid reason for the stop. Driving erratically, weaving in and out of lanes, driving far under or over the speed limit could provide a cause for reasonable suspicion.

2. The Breathalyzer Wasn’t Used Correctly

A “breathalyzer” is commonly used to estimate a person’s blood alcohol concentration. If it’s 0.08% or more, it can lead to an OVWI charge. These devices must be calibrated regularly and properly maintained for their results to be used as evidence.

Law enforcement must provide maintenance and replacement records when requested. If these devices are not maintained or have incomplete records, the results may not be used, and the case may fall apart.

The device also may not be a problem. It could be the officer using it. If he or she isn’t trained and certified to operate it, the results may be excluded.

3. The Field Sobriety Test Was Incorrectly Performed or Interpreted

Field sobriety tests, ideally, help officers determine if a driver is intoxicated. They must be administered properly to get accurate results. If not, someone sober could fail. The person’s responses must be interpreted appropriately too.

The reason a driver can’t walk a straight line may be due to an injury or physical condition. You also shouldn’t be arrested just on the results of a field sobriety test. If it appears you failed, a breathalyzer or blood test should follow to try to confirm the result.

4. Failure To Be Objective

The point of pulling over a driver should be to find out if a crime occurred. Officers should be fair, impartial, open-minded, and make decisions without prejudice. Officers drove to make arrests, improve their numbers, and increase their promotion chances often make mistakes. Dashcam and body camera video often show the situation was very different than how the officer described it.

5. Not Receiving Your Miranda Warning

Miranda warnings tell those detained or arrested of their constitutional rights to be silent and have an attorney present during police questioning. After you’re detained:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law
  • You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have one present during questioning
  • If you can’t afford a lawyer, one can be appointed for you

Voluntary statements made after an arrest but before questioning and the Miranda warning are admissible as evidence. If you have not been advised of your Miranda Rights and the interrogation begins, your statements can’t be used at trial.

In OVWI cases, the issues can be whether the warning was given or, if it was, when. Since answers to questions while being detained, but before the warning can be excluded from evidence, the timing could be critical to defending a case.

Talk to an Experienced Indianapolis DUI Lawyer Today

Sean Hessler is a highly experienced Indianapolis criminal defense attorney with a record of finding mistakes in even the most complicated OVWI cases. He’s successfully represented many people like you who faced OVWI charges.

Sean has worked as a prosecutor in the past and has a unique perspective on these charges. He knows the local prosecutors, clerks, and judges. He can navigate the Indianapolis legal system to get you the best possible outcome.

Call Attorney Hessler so he can review your case for free at (317) 886-8800.