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Understanding the phenomenon of false DUI arrests

It is commonly understood that a person is innocent until proven guilty when he or she is accused of a crime. This may not seem to be the case, though, when it comes to a DUI arrest. People and courts might assume that an arrest and a breath test are evidence enough of guilt without considering potential innocence. However, according to the United States Department of Transportation, arrest numbers surpass 1.4 million in a single year, so it is worth wondering what fraction of these arrests are falsely made. These are a few reasons this may occur. 

Prejudice may motivate false arrests

It has been established that racial minorities and other marginalized groups are more likely to be arrested than others. This also might motivate officers to falsely arrest some citizens. If a law enforcement officer is prejudiced against somebody, he or she may act on these biases by initiating a DUI arrest when the person is sober and innocent.

Arrests may be made for acclaim

There is no excuse for an officer to knowingly make a false arrest, but there are several explanations that may clarify the motivation behind such abuses. One potential culprit could be a law enforcement officer's pursuit of acclaim and recognition. In such scenarios, he or she might arrest an innocent person to boost his or her overall numbers and seek accolades for purported successes. This is particularly true in the case of DUI arrests, which might be viewed as an accomplishment.

A DUI arrest can be used as retribution

In some cases, DUI arrests are made because officers pull citizens over for legitimate reasons and become angered by the response they receive. If a person is supposedly rude or hostile, for example, the officer may falsely arrest him or her for an alleged DUI because of poor behavior. Such falsely made punitive arrests are an abuse of power.

A DUI arrest can be made based on suspicion


In some cases, an officer may legitimately suspect that a citizen is driving under the influence of alcohol, but if there is no evidence and if the person passes sobriety tests, a DUI arrest is false. This may happen if the officer disregards sobriety tests and makes an arrest based on suspicion alone. In such cases, additional evidence would be warranted for a guilty verdict.

There are many reasons a false DUI arrest may be made. If you have been a victim of such an arrest, you can seek recourse by reaching out to an attorney.

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