Get Ready to Have your Right Violated For Another Year in the Name of DUI Enforcement
State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski announced recently that Pennsylvania DUI checkpoints will continue for at least another year, so get ready for another year of your rights being violated and being treated like a criminal just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Pennsylvania State Police argue the legitimacy of these DUI checkpoints by citing DUI arrest data. Pennsylvania DUI lawyers like myself argue that this data is inconclusive as it does not show how many people were actually guilty of the crime they were accused of–an arrest is not a conviction. I have written before about the Pennsylvania DUI arrest numbers and how the police are not telling the entire story. To put it briefly, in my extensive experience defending DUI checkpoint cases, I have found that many police officers are guilty of DUI Tunnel Vision, meaning they operate with the attitude that anything that looks like a DUI must be a DUI. In reality, many of these drivers were simply tired, ill or under the effects of medication and since they were confused and uncoordinated, they were arrested for DUI. Diabetics produced high amounts of acetone in their bodies and the breath machines the police use detect this and report this as alcohol. I have seen many diabetics wrongfully arrested for Pennsylvania DUI violations. Unfortunately, not enough time or money is spent on training police officers properly and monitoring them to ensure that they are, in fact, enforcing the law based on established principles.
The matter here is quality vs. quantity. The police and politicians in Pennsylvania want to increase arrest numbers to make themselves look more responsive. In some counties police officers are even issued awards based on the volume of arrests. Police should be motivated by their duty to uphold the law not by money and awards. Motivation based on money leads to corruption. Don’t believe me?:
Two Queens men cleared by a security video of bogus drug charges are getting $300,000 settlement from the city – and the two cops accused of setting them up have resigned.
The circumstances of the case prompted a federal judge overseeing the victims’ suit to declare the NYPD is plagued by “widespread falsification” by arresting officers.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown indicted Detective Stephen Anderson and Officer Henry Tavarez last year on a slew of corruption charges after prosecutors viewed the video taken inside the Delicias de Mi Tierra nightclub in Elmhurst the night of the arrests.
The cops claimed that on Jan. 5, 2008, the Colon brothers sold them two bags of cocaine.
The video confirmed that was false.
Later, Anderson told Tavarez to claim he had forgotten the details of the drug buy, according to prosecutors.
“I believe they were motivated by overtime and arrest numbers,” she said Monday.
“The more bodies [arrests] they brought in, the more overtime money they would make. Otherwise, it’s just pure evil.”
The police want quantity but my fight and duty as a DUI lawyer in Pennsylvania is to ensure against false DUI accusations based upon inaccurate or not enough data. We would all be much safer if police officers were properly trained to detect DUI cases and arrested only those who are truly guilty. However, no one wants to fight that fight because arresting more people is easier and looks better on paper. I fight that fight everyday, in courtrooms all across Pennsylvania so that none of my clients fall victim to bad policing or corruption and end up being penalized for a crime they did not commit. Remember, as a society, we will never get better quality if we don’t fight for it.