Wrongful DUI arrests in the U.S.
If you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be forced to face fines, loss of driving privileges, alcohol classes, and other punishments. The United States has strict penalties for DUI’s, and individuals who are charged with DUI may face aggressive prosecutors who may look to make an example of them, even if it is their first offense. While some people may argue that this is fair, especially due to strong public awareness efforts from organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and the International Drunk Driving Prevention Association (IDDPA), it is important to remember that everyone has the right to defend themselves in a court of law, and they are not necessarily guilty if they are accused of a crime.
The social stigma of a DUI charge can sometimes cost an innocent individual the chance for certain employment and may have other consequences. That’s why it is important for law enforcement officials to get it right when it comes to DUI arrests and to make sure that they do not arbitrarily assume that someone is guilty without affording them due process. While this may sound strange, it is not uncommon for individuals to be arrested and charged with DUI, even if they are not legally intoxicated. According to a story on the Florida Times-Union’s online site Jacksonville.com, a man settled a lawsuit in 2015 for 20,000 with the Atlanta Beach police department for a wrongful arrest in 2010. He was arrested on suspicion of DWI, even though he blew a 0.00 on the breathalyzer and his urine showed no traces of alcohol when tested back at the jail. Although the city paid him the $20,000, it did not admit fault.
Fortunately for people who are wrongly accused, an experienced DUI lawyer can help investigate the facts of the case and may be able to help convince the prosecutor assigned to the case to reduce the charges or have them dropped completely. This is obviously the best outcome for any individual who has been apprehended for suspected DWI.
While not every person who is arrested on suspicion of DWI is completely guilt-free, it is essential that the police do not wrongly arrest innocent individuals. By paying closer attention to the details and following correct protocols, police officers may be able to avoid false arrests that disrupt the lives of the people they are sworn to protect and serve.
Cases like the one in Jacksonville serve as a stark reminder that law enforcement does not always get it right, and fortunately, that case was resolved in favor of the innocent person. Hopefully, the department learned a valuable lesson from the case, but the attorney representing the wrongfully accused man believes that there were other cases of unjust arrests in that county that did not turn out in favor of the accused.