After you have been accused of drunk driving, you may need to find ways to introduce reasonable doubt about your guilt. If the evidence against you was obtained by a law enforcement officer and appears to show you were intoxicated, you can attack the veracity of the evidence and call its accuracy into question. If you can convince a jury there was a problem with the way evidence was collected or tested, you should not be convicted of DUI in Alabama because you are considered innocent until proven guilty.
One option you have when you want to introduce reasonable doubt is to raise questions about whether the law enforcement officer was properly trained to identify intoxicated motorists and to conduct any chemical or breath testing that you were given. If a law enforcement officer who pulled you over and determined you were intoxicated did not undergo required or routine training programs, you can question whether he acted properly and whether the evidence collected was accurate in your case.
DUI Defendants Can Raise Questions About Police Competence
Raising questions about whether a law enforcement officer was adequately trained will not work in all drunk driving cases, especially because since juries tend to give the benefit of the doubt to law enforcement. However, one recent story by Fox 10 suggests those in charge of enforcing the law in Alabama may not actually have the experience or backgrounds necessary to be totally trustworthy in every case.
According to the article, the Constables Association is Alabama's oldest law enforcement agency. It has come under heavy scrutiny in recent months. The problem is there are a lot of constables who have arrest records for committing crimes. The constables also do not necessarily have to undergo any training and are subject to very limited oversight.
The Alabama Peace Officer's Standards and Training Commission (APOST Commission) is responsible to ensure police officers meet minimum standards. Unfortunately, APOST does not have jurisdiction to regulate Constables. One of the things that has frustrated the head of the Commission is investigations have revealed the acting Constable of one Alabama precinct had pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine. Alabama law prohibits convicted felons from being law enforcement officers, and any officers under the jurisdiction of APOST will vacate office upon conviction. Constables, however, cannot just be thrown out of office even if they commit a felony offense. They would have to be impeached.
Fox News suggests there are multiple constables with prior arrest records and nothing can be done. Further, even constables who are not convicted criminals may not have undergone much training to learn how to safely police the public within the confines of the law. The Constables Association sponsored its first training program only months ago, and the president has reportedly not responded to press requests to talk about the training program.
The problems with the lack of oversight of constables in Alabama show that peace officers and those trusted with upholding the law are not always infallible. It is possible to raise questions about whether a police officer's assertion you were intoxicated actually proves you were drunk and should be convicted for impaired driving.
Contact Barclay Law at 866-584-1023 or visit http://www.jmbarclaylaw.com to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Birmingham. Serving South Side, Titusville, Red Mountain, Woodlawn, Ensley and surrounding areas.