Although most police officers are thoroughly trained in the signs of intoxication, their actions do not always comport with their training. For example, a woman in Phoenix, Arizona, was recently detained and charged with DUI despite the fact there was no evidence that she was intoxicated. The woman subsequently filed a complaint against the police department, shedding light on the concerning issue of inappropriate arrests. If you were charged with a DUI despite a lack of evidence that you were intoxicated while operating a vehicle, you should meet with a skillful Illinois DUI attorney regarding your case.
Factual Background of the Phoenix Arrest
It is reported that the Phoenix police pulled over a 29-year-old woman who was driving late at night with her boyfriend. The woman, who pulled over into a parking lot of a business, described the officer as having an intimidating attitude. The woman received a ticket for an unsafe lane change, a red light violation, and an improper turn. The officer reportedly observed an odor of alcohol coming from the car and therefore attempted to conduct a field sobriety test. The woman advised the officer that she had a severe fear of men and of the police and requested that a female officer come to the scene. The officer noted the woman’s anxiety in his report repeatedly. A female officer was not dispatched, however, but more male officers arrived.
It is alleged that the woman admitted to consuming sake four hours prior to being stopped, and a breathalyzer test indicated her blood-alcohol level was .02. Under Phoenix law, an officer cannot arrest a person with a blood-alcohol level of less than .05 unless it is suspected the person is under the influence of drugs. Thus, the officer then began questioning the woman regarding whether she consumed drugs, which she denied. The woman was ultimately arrested and charged with DUI for drugs and alcohol. The charges against her were dismissed two months later, and her case was closed, but the woman had to spend hundreds of dollars defending the claim, and the DUI arrest remains on her record. To help prevent similar occurrences in the future, the woman filed a complaint against the Phoenix police department and asked that the police receive more training in crisis prevention.
Wrongful Prosecution Under Illinois Law
Illinois allows for a cause of action for wrongful prosecution, but a person pursuing such a claim has a high burden of proof. Specifically, a person who was wrongfully prosecuted can file a civil lawsuit if he or she can prove the State brought a criminal suit against the person without probable cause and with malicious intent. Further, the person must prove that the underlying action terminated in his or her favor and that the prosecution caused the person to suffer special damages beyond the typical expenses, time, and annoyance of defending against criminal claims. Thus, in many cases, even if the police had no valid reason to arrest or detain a person for suspicion of DUI, it will be challenging for the person to recover damages due to the difficulty of proving that the person was prosecuted maliciously
Speak with a Dedicated DUI Attorney
The State must prove that the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to stop a DUI defendant and that there was sufficient evidence of intoxication to obtain a conviction. If you are charged with a DUI, it is prudent to speak with a dedicated Illinois DUI attorney about your case and what defenses you may be able to argue. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC is a knowledgeable Illinois attorney who will work tirelessly to help you seek a successful outcome. Mr. Harvatin can be contacted at 217.525.0520 or through the online form to set up a free and confidential meeting.