One would hope that in a society that claims to embrace diversity, racial profiling would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. While there are laws prohibiting this sort of behavior, that doesn’t mean that police have stopped the practice.
Our Asheville DUI attorneys meet with a number of clients every year who believe they were the victim of racial profiling. Studies show that a person of color is five times more likely to be arrested for DUI than a white driver. If you feel that your traffic stop was motivated by racial profiling, you should contact one of our Asheville DUI lawyers right away.
You do not have much time before you make your first appearance in court. You want to have a DUI defense lawyer in Asheville by your side when this happens. If you want any chance to get the DUI charges reduced or even dismissed, then you’ll want to retain a seasoned Asheville DUI attorney sooner rather than later.
The Police Only Need Reasonable Suspicion to Pull You Over
It can be difficult for your Asheville DUI attorney to challenge your traffic stop. This is because the police only need to show that they had reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
Essentially, all the cops must prove is that they had reason to believe that a crime had been committed. When it comes to any traffic stop, police officers can demonstrate reasonable suspicion by pointing to any of the following.
- You were weaving in and out of your lane.
- You failed to do a complete stop at a stop sign.
- You ran through a yellow light.
- You forgot to use your blinker when making a turn.
- You stopped for too long at a traffic light or stop sign.
As you can imagine, it doesn’t take much for the cops to prove they had reasonable suspicion to pull you over. What your DUI defense lawyer in Asheville must prove is that the cops pulled you over primarily because of your race. This is a difficult hurdle to overcome.
Your DUI Defense Lawyer in Asheville Can Review the Video and Audio of Your Traffic Stop and Arrest
One way your Asheville DUI attorney can prove racial profiling is by reviewing the video of your traffic stop. Most officers today wear bodycams that record their engagement with a driver. Depending on the municipality, the video may also include audio.
Your attorney can review the video to see if the officers make any comments regarding your race. Even if the comment is an indirect reference to your race, it will still help prove racial profiling. Your attorney will look to see if the officers said anything disparaging to you. Your DUI defense lawyer in Asheville will also study the conversation between the officers.
For example, if one of the officers makes a comment to their partner about your race, or race in general, your attorney may be able to use it as evidence of profiling. If there are any remarks in the officer’s notes or arrest records about your being of a certain race, your attorney will use that as well.
There Are Two Tests Your Asheville DUI Attorney Can Use
The courts and law enforcement understand how difficult it is to prove racial profiling. Of course, law enforcement prefers it this way. If your Asheville DUI attorney can prove racial profiling, the charges against you could be dropped. In addition, you may be able to sue the police department for damages if you suffered a loss as a result of their racial profiling.
There is no hard and fast rule about what constitutes racial profiling. Sometimes, your DUI defense lawyer in Asheville will have to go beyond the facts of your case to prove racial profiling. There are two main ways to do this.
The first test is called benchmarking. This test compares the percentage of DUI arrests among minority drivers and white drivers within a geographic area. If the numbers are not similar for the two groups, your attorney will argue that the police in that geographic area engage in racial profiling.
DUI Stops for White Drivers vs People of Color
The second test looks at the hit rate for DUI arrests for white drivers versus minority drivers. Here, your Asheville DUI attorney will look at the rate at which white drivers pulled over for suspicion of DUI are actually arrested. They will then do the same thing for minority drivers.
If it appears that minority drivers are arrested for DUI at a much higher rate than white drivers, it will also support your claim of racial profiling.
Regardless of Racial Profiling, Your DUI Defense Lawyer in Asheville Will Fight to Get the Charges Reduced or Dismissed
Our DUI defense lawyers in Asheville very rarely meet with a client who admits that they were drunk driving. Usually, a person charged with DUI will argue that the police arrested them unfairly. Most of the time, by the time your lawyer reviews the police officer’s notes, they can see that you were in fact driving while over the legal limit.
There are times, however, when a client sincerely believes that they have been unfairly targeted. In these cases, our clients may point to racial profiling as the reason for their arrest. If you believe you have also been the victim of racial profiling, contact our office directly.
We can schedule a time for you to come into the office and meet with one of our experienced Asheville DUI attorneys. They can review your case and determine if there is enough evidence to make a claim of racial profiling.
Either way, whether you believe you were the victim of racial profiling or not, your lawyer will do their best to help. Ideally, they will be able to get the charges against you reduced or even dismissed. The only way to know for sure is to call and schedule an appointment with one of our associates as soon as possible after your DUI arrest.