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State Police Officer Avoids Prosecution for Being Intoxicated in his Patrol Vehicle

All citizens are subject to the same criminal laws, including police officers. That does not necessarily mean that all crimes are investigated and prosecuted equally, however. This was demonstrated recently in Colorado, where a police officer who was found unconscious and intoxicated in his police car was not prosecuted for DUI. Generally, however, most people must comply with the law and can be charged with DUI for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. If you are faced with charges of a DUI offense in Illinois, it is prudent to meet with a seasoned Illinois DUI attorney to discuss your potential defenses.

Colorado Police Officer Found Intoxicated in his Patrol Car

It is reported that police officers encountered one of their own intoxicated and unconscious in a patrol car, while armed and in uniform, on a street in Aurora, Colorado. Footage from the incident indicates the officers that responded to the scene believed the officer was intoxicated. None of the officers advised EMS that they smelled alcohol, however, and a DUI specialist who arrived at the scene was told not to conduct an investigation.

Allegedly, a blood draw taken at the hospital indicated the officer’s BAC was five times the legal limit. The District Attorney advised he could not use it to prosecute the officer, however, due to medical privacy laws, and restrictions regarding information in internal affairs reports. Thus, the District Attorney did not have sufficient evidence to charge the officer, which he admitted was a source of frustration, stating that if anyone else had been in the car, he or she would have been treated differently.

Illinois’ Prosecution of Intoxicated Officers

In Illinois, anyone who drives and is in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to a degree that renders them unable to drive safely, or with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, can be convicted of DUI, including police officers. For example, in January 2020, an off-duty police officer was involved in a collision that ultimately resulted in the death of her passenger, another police officer. The accident occurred when the officer struck a vehicle that had been involved in a prior collision and was stopped on the side of the road.

Following the accident, the officer suffered minor injuries and was charged with DUI. Although her attorney argues that her BAC was below the legal limit at the time of the crash, it is clear that police officers in Illinois can be prosecuted for DUI. Further, even if her BAC was below the legal limit for a “per se” DUI violation, the prosecution may be able to establish that she was nonetheless impaired due to the consumption of alcohol at the time of the accident.

Confer with a Knowledgeable DUI Attorney

If you are faced with charges of a DUI in Illinois, it is in your best interest to confer with a knowledgeable Illinois DUI defense attorney to discuss your case. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a proficient DUI defense attorney, and if you retain his services, he will fight diligently on your behalf. Mr. Harvatin can be reached via the online form or by calling 217.525.0520 to schedule a meeting.

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