Overcoming "Bloodshot Eyes" Probable Cause Claims For A False DUI Arrest

Being arrested for driving while intoxicated is serious. So is being falsely arrested for a DWI. Law enforcement officers must be diligent and pull over vehicles in which the driver appears to be intoxicated. They also must rely on additional evidence to support probable cause for an arrest. In a case of officer misconduct or a simple mistake, a driver should perform necessary steps to support a false arrest defense over the improper reliance on bloodshot eyes as probable cause when the condition was the result of dirty contact lenses.

Bloodshot Eyes and Probable Cause

If a person is driving erratically and pulled over, an officer could claim the appearance of visibly reddened eyes as probable cause for an arrest. Alcohol can lead to a person's eyes becoming bloodshot and reddened. So can wearing infected contact lenses. Absent other evidence such as the smell of alcohol, slurred words, and a failed sobriety test, red eyes might not be enough to warrant an arrest.

Attacking Probable Cause Claims

If arrested and brought to the police station, contact a DUI lawyer and allow the lawyer to immediately note the dirty lenses as evidence. Those who are arrested and released without being brought into the station could take the following action upon arriving home:

  • Make a video removing the lenses in front of a mirror.

  • Have a radio or TV on in the background to prove the time the video was made.

  • Put the lenses into a carry case and then put the case into a distinguishable sealed envelope.

An attorney may be able to use this video and the accompanying dirty lenses to build a credible defense.

Rely on Smartphone Support

Keeping a smartphone nearby and turning on any audio recording app could prove helpful during a stop. Voice-recognition software allows the driver to avoid any rash movements and, instead, quickly speak a few simple commands to turn on a program capable of recording the stop. The recording ends up capturing events as they played out, which may undermine any false claims of additional DWI-related probable cause such as erratic behavior, slurred speech, and the like. If the recording disproves the officer's assessments, the claims could end up losing all merit.

Legal Ramifications

Remember, if it turns out there was no probable cause for the arrest, a solid DUI lawyer may be able to get the charges dismissed. The possibility for civil action also exists in these types of scenarios.