In many states, police departments create incentive programs that award officers who arrest the highest number of people for DUI offenses. While such programs are likely meant to encourage thorough and vigilant investigations, they can lead to unwarranted arrests and unlawful activity. Recent events in Maryland highlight the dangers of incentivizing DUI arrests, as evidence came to light that showed that a state trooper faked numerous DUI arrests to bolster his career. While incentive programs are generally instituted by local police departments, Illinois law does provide for special funds to be used in the enforcement of DUI crimes that could potentially lead to increased unwarranted arrests. If you were arrested in Illinois for a DUI crime despite insufficient evidence that any unlawful activity occurred, you may be able to avoid a conviction and should speak to a dedicated Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding your rights.
Facts Regarding the Fake DUI Arrests
Reportedly, a Maryland state trooper recently pleaded guilty to misconduct and perjury charges for issuing tickets to non-existent individuals and making up DUI arrests in an attempt to elevate his statistics. Specifically, he admitted that over the course of two years, he charged six fictitious people with DUI. The evidence revealed, and the trooper conceded that in each case, not only was no actual arrest made, but there was also no traffic stop or investigation, and the people that were reportedly ticketed did not exist.
It is alleged that in four of the cases, arrest warrants were issued due to the failure of the fictitious defendants to appear in court. Ultimately, the trooper’s co-workers reported him. It appears that the impetus for the trooper’s behavior was the awards granted by the Maryland State Police for the troopers who arrested the most people for DUI crimes. The trooper was fined and received a suspended sentence of six years, followed by three years of probation. Currently, he remains employed as a trooper but is suspended without pay.
Illinois Law Regarding DUI
In Illinois, a person can be charged with a DUI offense for driving while under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating drugs or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. While the law provides that an officer that stops a driver must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver violated the law or committed a traffic violation, not all stops arise out of a lawful investigation. Additionally, under Illinois’ DUI statute, there is a Secretary of State Police DUI Fund that is used for the preventing and enforcement of DUI crimes, including providing training, police officer salaries, and equipment. While the Fund does not explicitly provide incentives for DUI arrests, it may be interpreted to reward police departments for arresting people for driving while impaired.
Discuss Your Charges with an Assertive DUI Defense Attorney
Simply because you are charged with a DUI offense does not mean you will be convicted, as, in many instances, the circumstances leading up to an arrest will be insufficient grounds to warrant a stop. If you are accused of a DUI crime, it is prudent to discuss your charges with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to assess what defenses you may be able to assert. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is an assertive attorney who is adept at helping criminal defendants seek just results, and he will work diligently on your behalf. You can contact Mr. Harvatin at 217.525.0520 or through the form online to set up a conference.