Recently in Denver, Colorado, a double standard involving police and DUI arrests was uncovered and reported on. It's not a surprising fact that police can be biased, especially in cases of DUI arrests, but in this specific circumstance, the double standard could not be any clearer. So, though this case involves a DUI arrest in Denver, it's relevancy across the United States, including in Virginia, cannot be underscored enough.
The Facts: Police & DUI Double Standards
KDVR, a news outlet in Colorado, recently reported on a double standard pertinent to police and DUIs. According to the report, on the one hand, an otherwise law-abiding citizen – Chris Kaspar – in 2014 left a friend's party knowing he was too intoxicated to drive. As a result, he decided to sleep off the alcohol in his vehicle, which was parked in a cul-de-sac. An Aurora police officer – Nathan Meier – found him asleep in the vehicle and arrested him for DUI after smelling alcohol. Kaspar spent years and all his resources fighting the charge. He lost his job and home along the way.
Then, on the other hand, the very same police officer – Aurora Police Officer Nathan Meier – who arrested Kaspar was found asleep in an unmarked car intoxicated. To exacerbate his situation, Officer Meier was on duty when he was found asleep and intoxicated in the car. The incident was caught on bodycam footage. On the footage, Aurora Police Officer Eugene VanDyk sates that:
He's a little intoxicated.
A "little," however, is not representative of what was seen on the bodycam footage where the Officer was unable to stand and, with glassy eyes, was unresponsive. Deputy Chief Paul O'Keefe, the first officer on the scene, also admitted to a "fleeting" smell of alcohol, but treated the incident as a medical situation and not a DUI. As a result, Officer Meier – again who was on duty at the time – was not arrested for DUI and no charges were ever filed. He was also not disciplined in any way and was able to keep his job.
Why DUI Double Standards Matter
As mentioned, it is important to highlight this DUI double standard because – aside from the injustice of it all – it exemplifies clearly how DUI cases can be highly subjective and biased.
This scenario does not only play out in Colorado but can happen (and does) in Virginia, too. It's always important to fight a DUI case because challenging the officer, the police report, and other vital evidence can be key to an acquittal at trial for a DUI or DUI-related charge.
The police are human – e.g., they have inherent biases that can lead to wrong conclusions – and that's why their testimony can be successfully challenged. That's also why you must contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Charlottesville to help you fight your DUI charge, especially if you believe you were wrongfully charged.