First off, the tail light, brake lights, turn signals, and reverse lights were(are) 100% operational. I was designated driver, however my passenger was drunk. The car smelled of alcohol, and I complied with the requests for Field Sobriety Tests. One part of the Field Sobriety test induced back spasms so painful i fell over in the parking lot (recent back injury from car accident which I told them before the test I believed would cause me pain). This convinced the officers I was DUI, at which point they gave me a breathalyzer (.000) and then they placed me under arrest for DUI. I was given a second test about 30 mins later (.000 again). Upon arrival at the police station, I told the officer I wanted a lawyer, he threatened to keep me in jail all weekend if I didn't waive my Miranda rights.
If you are in fact charged with a DUI, it is important for you to retain a criminal defense attorney who has expertise with DUI cases. If you submitted to a blood test, the test results will be the determining factor. As to bringing a civil claim against the police department, they most likely are shielded by immunity. Good luck.
You can attempt to sue if you want but it is certainly not a guarantee that you will be successful. That would be more of a civil case and you would want to speak with an attorney that handles these types of issues. You can also file a complaint against the police if you feel that you were treated unfairly. This is usually done through internal affairs. I wish you luck.
From a quick read of your facts it sounds like the officer may have had probable cause to request the blood test based on the odor of alcohol and failed field sobriety tests. Assuming you weren't drinking and had no controlled substances or other drugs in your blood you should be cleared by the blood test. Talk with a good lawyer now either way as there may be more relevant facts to discuss.
As my colleagues have indicated, if you have a DUI charge retain a criminal defense attorney. Note, you can still get a DUI even if you had no alcohol (i.e. if you are medicated with pain killers from your back and should not be operating a vehicle). Your blood test results should indicate how this will pan out.
With respect to a civil suit, although there are some troubling actions that the police did (i.e. trying to force you to waive your Miranda rights after invoking your right to counsel) it will be an uphill battle unless you can also demonstrate that their behavior was influenced by some discriminatory motive (e.g. race, gender, nationality, religion, etc.). If you are not charged with DUI and only with the broken taillight violation, one way to approach is to bring this matter to the attention of the traffic court presiding over your ticket. Also ask for reimbursement of your cab fare. Hopefully he or she will find the Miranda issue problematic.
Stew Crawford, Jr., Esq.
Crawford Law Firm
A Full Service Law Firm Serving Pennsylvania & New Jersey
Philadelphia Area Office
223 North Monroe Street
Media, Pennsylvania 19063
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