Dec 24, 2016 Whether DWI arrests of police make cops more sensitive about all DWI defendants
The 0.08 blood alcohol content threshold for getting a DWI/DUI conviction is so low that such a DWI conviction does not tell us whether the defendant was drunk rather than simply impaired, if impaired at all. Add to that the number of DWI and other convictions that are obtained through guilty and no contest pleas for purposes of bet-hedging rather than real guilt, and convictions by themselves for any offense do not automatically tell us that the convicted offense was actually committed.
When police and prosecutors are arrested for DUI, does that make remaining police more sensitive about all DWI defendants? Whether or not that is the case, a Google search quickly returns the names of many police officers recently arrested for DWI. (A criminal defendant remains presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.) Those cases include:
– In Litchfield, Minnesota, the police chief seeks to dismiss an officer accused of two counts of third-degree DWI.
– In late November 2016, a Lynchburg, Virginia, police officer received a thirty-day suspended jail sentence for DWI, which he has appealed. He was placed on administrative leave pending an internal police investigation.
– A Hampton, New York, police detective recently entered a no contest plea to DWI, which arose after he allegedly crashed into a guardrail.
– A Colorado City, Texas, police officer recently resigned after his DWI arrest in Lubbock.
– An Atlanta, Georgia, police officer recently was arrested for DWI. While I advise my criminal defense clients not to discuss their pending criminal case with anyone but me, this officer told television news that he made a poor choice.
Police officers and prosecutors: DWI and other criminal cases are not “them versus us.” Sometimes your own colleagues get prosecuted themselves.