Assessing the Community Caretaker Doctrine During DUI Cases

Posted on December 5, 2013

Walk-and-Turn Test

Law enforcement agents become involved in DUI cases in any number of ways, such as setting up DUI checkpoints or acting as “community caretakers” to assist citizens in need. In situations where a community caretaker’s actions led to a motorist’s DUI arrest, the defendant’s Redwood City DUI attorney can investigate whether the caretaker’s behavior was warranted and lawful.

A Redwood City DUI Lawyer Can Explain the Community Caretaker Doctrine

Police officers are charged with protecting citizens and the community. This responsibility enables law enforcement agents to interject in situations where they believe someone may be in danger in order to assist the endangered person.

Essentially, there are two important details about the community caretaker doctrine that a Redwood City DUI attorney may discuss with his or her clients:

  • If the community caretaker doctrine is applicable in a certain circumstance, law enforcement agents legally do not need a warrant in order to act.
  • However, a Redwood City DUI attorney can later argue in court that officers’ actions were unwarranted.
Justified Instances of the Doctrine

A knowledgeable Redwood City DUI lawyer will be familiar with a Montana case where a law enforcement officer stopped to investigate a parked car. The law enforcement agent entered the vehicle without a warrant after observing the unresponsive driver lying in the car and later arrested the motorist for DUI. Courts upheld the arrest.

How a Redwood City DUI Attorney Might Examine a Client’s Case

A thorough Redwood City DUI attorney will most likely examine the following elements of the defendant’s arrest due to the community caretaker doctrine:

  • Can the officer provide objective evidence that the defendant was in danger?
  • Were the agent’s actions appropriate for the situation?
  • Did the officer remove him/herself from the situation once the defendant was no longer in danger?
You Might Be Able to Fight Your Charges

An accomplished Redwood City DUI attorney at Silveira Law may be able to help you fight your DUI charges even if you were arrested by an officer acting under the community caretaker doctrine. Call for help today at (415) 795-3890.