Police arrested, cuffed, and hauled her away in front of her kid–all because a man in a restaurant mistook the glasses of water she was drinking for wine, then called the police. The comments to the story are rather interesting, too. Read them and draw your own conclusions about this mysterious man who was watching her in the restaurant.
The reporter finds another case in which a woman was charged with DUI after blowing .03 on a breath test, because the cops were convinced she was on drugs. When lab tests proved them wrong, prosecutors pushed ahead with the charges anyway.
In both cases, the women eventually beat the charges, but incurred thousands of dollars in legal bills. That seems to be the choice in these cases. Even if you’re completely innocent, your options are to plead guilty and accept your punishment, or fight the charges, in which you risk the wrath of the judge if you’re convicted, and spending thousands of dollars you won’t get back even if you’re acquitted.
Here’s the fun part:
But I was struck by something as I talked to Sifford. She begged me not to read too much into the police report — in the officer’s account of her field sobriety tests, she was sniffing constantly, her pulse was above normal, and she swayed. Reading that, without the results of the urine test, you might assume she was coked-up.
But that’s the thing about these reports. You can see it on Shannon Wilcutt’s, too.
Shannon Wilcutt had a 0.02 blood alcohol content, but the police report notes a “moderate” odor of alcohol on her breath. How is that possible? It also says that her speech was “slurred” and she had dried blood on her lips. That couldn’t possibly be related to dental surgery, could it?
The cops were building their cases; it was up to Wilcutt and Sifford to find lawyers willing to ferret out the truth.
The officers are only doing their job, but their job is to bust drunk drivers. That’s what the Legislature wants, what the governor wants, and what the public wants. From the minute the cops pull you over, they assume you’re drunk.
It’s your job to prove yourself innocent.
These aren’t even the worst cases. The California Highway Patrol was recently exposed for using standard, cut-and-paste boilerplate about “the scent of alcohol” and “slurred speech” in all DWI arrests. Some defendants whose blood tests came back negative filed an open records request, revealing the word-for-word descriptions on the arrest reports. Wouldn’t that be pretty good evidence that the officers had perjured themselves?