A female corporal in the Utah Highway Patrol was fired after accusations came to light that she engaged in falsely arresting drivers for DUI when they had, in fact, done nothing wrong, or had not reached the levels of intoxication that she claimed. The sheer number of DUI arrests she racked up earned her praise from her superiors and led her to win the coveted title of trooper of the year in 2007 before the dubious nature of the arrests came to light.
As we have previously discussed in this blog, in a number of cases, motorists charged with DUI had not been drinking at all. In other instances, they may have had some alcohol to drink but not enough to be impaired or legally intoxicated. She purportedly lied about them smelling of alcohol or failing field sobriety tests. Over 40 motorists have now come forward to claim that they were falsely arrested. At least one person has filed a lawsuit against the ex-trooper. The suit was filed weeks after the trooper was fired, and could signal the desire of other motorists to be compensated for costs they bore unnecessarily.
While charges against these motorists were ultimately dropped, in the interim they incurred significant costs for car towing and impound fees, court expenses, legal fees, and bail. They also suffered aggravation, loss of time, and damage to their reputation. The story illustrates how easy false DUI charges are to manufacture when an officer has no compunctions about outright lying.
The ex-trooper is challenging her firing. One county prosecutor has said that he would certainly dismiss many remaining cases in which she was a principal witness or investigator. In some cases, arrested motorists were vindicated when blood tests showed that there was no alcohol in their systems.
Some believe that the current list of 40 accused false arrests may be just the tip of the iceberg, with hundreds of other false arrests she made yet to be uncovered.
Source: The New York Times, “Suit Claims Officer Faked D.U.I. Cases,” Dan Frosch, Jan. 2, 2013