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Man who says he was confused for DUI driver found not guilty

One way that an innocent person can get wrongfully arrested for DUI in Ogden is if the police officers at the scene mix up the occupants of a vehicle and arrest a passenger as if he or she was the driver. That is what happened to a man who was arrested for DUI in another state in 2011. Almost exactly two years later, the man's trial concluded with a not guilty plea.

The man was riding in a car that was driven by his former roommate. The roommate and another man were on their way to buy drugs and the defendant wanted to buy alcohol and had no other means of transportation. While on the way the driver lost control of the car and struck a gas meter.

Though the roommate and third man told the defendant to get out of the car, he stayed in the backseat with his seat belt buckled. When police arrived, the roommate claimed that he and the defendant had switched seats because the defendant was attempting to avoid getting arrested. The officers apparently believed the roommate. A test they conducted found that the defendant had a blood-alcohol level of 0.339.

The defendant admitted being "highly inebriated" at the time of his arrest but denied that he was the driver or otherwise caused the accident. Once trial finally began earlier in May, the evidence presented by the prosecution could not establish that the defendant was driving. Once the testimony was concluded, the judge found him not guilty.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Judge finds Monongahela man not guilty in DUI case," Eric Slagle, May 8, 2013

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