Most Common Police Mistakes During a DUI Stop


As we explain on our ‘DUI Help’ page, nothing good ever comes from driving under the influence. You’re putting yourself at risk, in addition to others. However, there are a handful of mistakes that police officers can make during a DUI investigation. Check out our top five in this blog post.


  1. No reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop – Keep in mind that a traffic stop is deemed legal if an officer has reasonable suspicion that you were committing some sort of traffic violation. This could be anything from a broken tail light to causing a fender bender. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be pulled over specifically on suspicion of driving under the influence in order for you to be arrested for a DUI. Here’s where things get a bit dicey, though. If the officer lacked justification for the stop, any evidence collected after (breathalyzer test, etc.) may be suppressed on a motion from your lawyer. Therefore, a DUI conviction may be reduced or dismissed depending on the lawfulness of the stop.
  2. Misconduct at sobriety checkpoints – Those administering sobriety checks must adhere to strict rules and guidelines. If any aren’t properly followed, the arrest can be challenged.
  3. Misconduct in field sobriety tests – There are several different kinds of field sobriety tests in Chattanooga and throughout Tennessee. Still, many police officers won’t consider factors such as fatigue, medical conditions, weather, or pavement structure when administering the tests. This is yet another open door for DUI defense attorneys when fighting on your behalf.
  4. No probable cause for arrest – This ties in a bit with the first point. Following a traffic stop, a law enforcement officer must have probable cause that a crime was committed in order for the arrest to be valid. To clarify, probable cause means that any reasonable person would believe that you were driving under the influence based on presented evidence. Without probable cause, an experienced attorney is able to have all of the evidence suppressed from after the arrest.
  5. Misadministration of your breath test – Even at this step of the process, there’s still hope for you. A driver who has been lawfully pulled over and arrested will be given a breath test in order check blood-alcohol content. It’s important to know that officers must continuously observe the driver for several minutes prior to administering the test. In the past, officers have become distracted with paperwork, setting up the test, or talking to another officer. Should this happen, your lawyer can argue that the procedure was not followed properly and get the test results suppressed.


In Tennessee, drivers:        

  • Do not have to consent and should not consent to field sobriety tests
  • May be videotaped and recorded during the entirety of the stop
  • Have a right to an independent blood test


Elements of DUI in Tennessee include:

  • The driver’s identity
  • Proof that the driver was in physical control of a motor vehicle in the state, on a public road
  • Impairment – BAC of .08 percent or higher or that the driver was under the influence of an intoxicant that impaired his or her ability to safely operate a vehicle


Our law firm never endorses drinking and driving. Through the years, we’ve seen clients lose lifelong relationships over a DUI. However, should you come to us, we will work to mitigate circumstances to the best of our abilities. With a combined 60 years as DUI defense lawyers, we’ve seen a variety of cases. Though we can never guarantee results, we let our experience speak for itself.

The fact is that DUI cases have multiple layers to them. Rather than try to settle your case with less-than-satisfactory legal assistance, why not seek the advice of our go-to counsel? At Cavett, Abbott & Weiss, we make it a point to put our clients first in every case. Not to mention, you can feel at ease knowing that our law firm maintains a good working relationship with the prosecuting attorney’s office.  

For more information on our DUI and criminal defense expertise or to schedule a consultation, feel free to get in touch with us today. See what makes us Chattanooga’s Top Rated Local® legal services.

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