July has not been a good month for state legislators to get behind the wheel. Earlier this month, Alabama state senator Cam Ward was arrested on a drunk driving charge, and more recently, a hearing was held for Tennessee state representative Carson Beck’s DUI charge.
Representative Beck had slightly better news, as his case was overturned by the judge thanks to a gray area in DUI law. In DUI cases, a judge is allowed to evaluate whether or not the initial traffic stop is valid. The police need to have sufficient reason to pull someone over for their charges to stick.
In Beck’s case, he was stopped after his car briefly crossed partway into the center turn lane. The judge evaluated the tape and decided that this was not enough of a reason to pull Beck over, and therefore Beck’s blood/alcohol level at the time of his arrest was irrelevant to the case. Without sufficient reason to pull over the driver, the police do not have the right to give him a sobriety test, and so the results of the test cannot be taken into account.
In Alabama, similar rules apply: police cannot pull you over without probable cause. Of course, in any motor vehicle accident, there exists probable cause for both drivers to be tested for alcohol consumption.
If you are in an accident with a drunk driver, don’t leave your financial future up to insurance companies and an overburdened court system: call the car accident lawyers at Long & Long at (251) 432-2277. We offer a free case review to anyone who contacts us by phone or through this website. Long & Long has offices in Mobile and Orange Beach.