Wednesday, April 15, 2009

False DUI Arrest? Sober Man considers lawsuit vs. DUI Officer

San Diego California Criminal Defense Attorney Rick Mueller has a new video.
Rick speaks May 30th in Los Angeles at the Annual Mexican American Bar Association DUI Seminar at Loyola Loyola Law School. He recently spoke at the California Attorneys For Criminal Justice annual DUI seminar in Rancho Mirage, California.

A sober man wants justice after he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) by one of the most productive Corvallis, Oregon police officers. Brian J. Noakes that he was considering filing suit for an alleged false arrest.

On May 11, Noakes had gone to a bar to pick up his wife and friends. While parked, his wife sent him a text message that they had moved to a bar a block away, so Noakes drove a bit closer to the second bar, stopping his car in a store parking lot. When Noakes left the car, Officer Dave Cox, who had been staking out area bars, confronted him. Cox suggested that Noakes' driving such a short distance was suspicious.

Cox wrote in his report that the motorist had "bloodshot and glassy" eyes and that his tongue had a "light green coating." The motorist had a cold and was chewing gum. The motorist blew 0.0 on a breathalyzer test and a drug test confirmed that his system was clean, aside from a trace amount of codeine from cold medicine taken the previous day. Although Noakes was not charged with a DUI offense, the arrest will stay on his record.

"An arrest for traffic is not expungeable," Corvallis defense attorney Jennifer Nash told the Corvallis Gazette-Times newspaper. "So when innocent people are arrested there is actual damage."

Noakes was not the only sober motorist arrested by Cox in May. At least six of 27 motorists arrested by Cox for DUI that month passed drug testing and registered blood alcohol levels below the legal limit. Nonetheless, twenty-two of the arrest reports contained passages essentially identical to those in Noakes' report describing "bloodshot and glassy" eyes and other alleged indicators of intoxication.

California defense attorneys suggest this "Xeroxing" of arrest reports is common.

The prewritten form report tells the DUI officer what he should be looking for, not what he actually saw. As any honest officer will admit, California DUI cases usually do not follow such a neat, pre-described script; yet it is expedient. And avoids messy problems like the actual facts.

Corvallis police put Cox on paid leave on September 14 and he resigned November 1. Sergeant Jim Crain was put on leave October 18. Cox made 27 of the 35 DUI arrests for Corvallis in May and was named DUII Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2003.

California DUI & DMV Defense Evaluation for your best San Diego DUI defense attorney strategy.