In this blog, we have discussed several times the case of a former member of the Utah Highway Patrol who was fired after an investigation revealed that she regularly arrested motorists for DUI even when the evidence suggested that they were not intoxicated in order to beef up her arrest record. Now another person who was arrested for DUI despite passing all roadside tests is saying that a state trooper committed false arrest against him.
The man, whose case was later dismissed, was pulled over by a UHP trooper in November 2011 on suspicion of speeding. The trooper asked if the driver, now 26, had drank any alcohol that day and the driver replied that he had drank one beer four hours earlier. The trooper ordered the man out of his vehicle and had him perform a field sobriety test, which was captured on the trooper’s dashboard camera.
The video shows the man passing the test easily, according to the man’s attorney. The trooper also had the man use a breath tester, which read the man’s blood-alcohol level at 0.00. But despite all evidence pointing against drunk driving, the trooper arrested the man on suspicion of DUI. The case reached trial in January 2012, where it was dismissed for lack of evidence.
The man, who had to pay impound fees and other costs due to the arrest, says the trooper violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and falsely arrested him. He has filed suit against the trooper for unspecified damages.
This case is similar to the one we have previously discussed involving another UHP trooper. The trooper in that case has been fired, though she is appealing the decision. At least 40 DUI cases based on her arrests have been thrown into doubt after a department report surfaced that raised doubts about her honesty in the field and on the witness stand. The attorney for the defendant in the current case says that the UHP routinely violates people’s civil rights.
Source: Vernal Express, “Vernal man files suit over arrest,” Mary Bernard, Feb. 6, 2013