Regardless of Sobriety, DUI Offenders Face Stigma
It’s no secret that a DUI conviction can have seriously detrimental and long-lasting effects on a person’s life. When an individual is found guilty of driving under the influence, their personal and professional life is often jeopardized. The stigma that comes along with a DUI conviction can be harsh, as our society likes to circulate damaging mugshots and define people by their mistakes and darkest moments. The sad truth is that this stigma is also placed onto the people who have only been arrested for a DUI, whether the arrest was justified or not.
After decades of aggressive police enforcement, the rate of arrests for drunk driving has decreased significantly, while arrests for drugged driving, on the other hand, have increased. Unfortunately, innocent people are arrested every year for a DUI crime that they did not commit. These false arrests occur most commonly with charges of drugged driving, as the police have no concrete way of testing the driver for these substances. The rate of false arrests for driving under the influence is a topic that has yet to receive much media attention, but incidents in Cobb County, Georgia have recently shed some light on this issue.
Cobb County police officer Tracy Carroll has been dubbed the “drug whisperer” for his staggering number of drugged driving arrests. Officer Carroll, along with about 250 other police officers in Georgia, is a trained “drug recognition expert,” meaning he has completed a course that provides officers with a dozen observations that allow them not only to pronounce a driver is under the influence of drugs, but also to identify which drugs are in their system. Carroll has received numerous awards for his many DUI arrests, but many of these arrests have proven to be unwarranted. On at least three occasions, Carroll has pulled over drivers for swerving, and ended up arresting the drivers for being under the influence of marijuana. In these cases, the officer did not need any concrete proof of the driver being impaired, such as the smell or presence of the drug, but is legally allowed to rely on his drug recognition training. These individuals, who were in fact sober, were arrested for DUI and were forced to spend the night in jail, hire a lawyer, and suffer through months of financial and job-related stress from the false arrest. The charges were eventually dropped, but that does not in any way erase the troubles and stigma that these people faced for many months.
Contact an Attorney
When police officers are rewarded for high arrest rates, it is not surprising that false arrests will occur. Unfortunately, the victims of false arrests are unfairly subjected to the harsh and critical stigma that society often places on criminals. If you are facing DUI charges for any reason, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Truslow & Truslow. Our legal team will do everything we can to protect and defend your rights. To speak to an experienced DUI lawyer, contact our offices today by calling (803) 256-6276.