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Drunk driving suspects vulnerable under the law

The American legal system is built on the foundation that every citizen is innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. Though, federal legislation that affects thousands of people each year may be designed and implemented to actually incriminate individuals unless they can prove their innocence. The flaws in drunk driving laws can be seen in how they are written and enforced throughout Connecticut and the country.

One particular case of a man being wrongly accused of drunk driving resulted in a police officer facing numerous felony criminal charges. The officer, who had a grudge against the victim, singled him out and fabricated claims against him. The victim in the case was pulled over, questioned, subjected to a field sobriety test and arrested without the officer having to provide any actual evidence that a crime was committed. And because the victim refused to submit to a breath test he was charged with that as well. Luckily, the officer’s illegal actions were captured by his own dashboard camera and the man’s innocence was proven in court. Though, many other drivers may not be so fortunate.

A U.S. Supreme Court case set precedence more than twenty years ago for penalizing suspects who refuse to submit to breath tests. That policy is particularly troubling because it reinforces the unconstitutional practice of forcing suspects to offer evidence to be used against them. Another highly questionable standard set during that time was to prohibit most drunk driving defendants from having a jury trial.

Given that there is strong evidence that federal legislation may not always protect the rights of some people facing DUI charges, it is wise to seek legal advice and representation in the event someone is suspected of such an offence.    

Source: nj.com, “Assemblyman’s case shows the flaws in DUI laws,” Paul Mulshine, May 7, 2013

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