A fascinating and scary article about how the police decide to arrest people for DUI in Arizona. The standards are so subjective and arbitrary that a police officer decided to arrest someone for DUI who was a designated driver, and literally blew a 0.0% BAC.
How can ths happen? Here’s the sequence of events:
- She was pulled over for no headlights. As a designated driver, she was unfamiliar with another persons’ vehicle.
- The officer smelled alcohol in the car. There were two other people in the car who clearly had been drinking. Hence, the whole “designated driver” thing.
- She refused to perform field sobriety exercises. As is her absolute right under the law, she chose not to dance around and balance on an invisible straight line, while wearing heeled sandals on a gravel embankment. Because, really, why should she? She had not consumed a single drink!
That’s it. Driver arrested, car impounded, based on no actual evidence that she was drunk. Because she hadn’t had a single drop of alcohol and had not displayed any signs of having done so.
This is the problem: Officers see what they want to see. If they stop a car at night, they simply assume the driver has been drinking, and can often imagine their own facts to justify this pre-conceived idea.
The test refusal was likely a big factor in the officer arresting her. Most officers assume a refusal is an admission of guilt, even though many perfectly sober people can’t do these tests. People who are older or overweight, have bad knees or feet, or are just uncoordinated. And even though drivers have no obligation to agree to them at all.
As you can see, a DUI charge is something that could happen to anyone. For that reason, an experience criminal defense DUI attorney is critically important if you’ve been accused of drunk driving. While it’s true that with police officers acting like this, the odds are unfairly stacked against you, an experienced Arizona DUI lawyer can help even the odds.