Prince George County Officer Cleared of DUI
A Prince George County police officer who had been charged back in May with DUI has been found not guilty by a county district court judge.
D.C. DUI lawyers understand he was acquitted after the judge ruled that the prosecutors failed to present enough evidence to prove that the officers was “actually driving the vehicle.”
This may seem odd, but it proves that no DUI charge is unbeatable, and simply pleading guilty to DUI may not often be in your best interest. The fact is, there are countless technicalities upon which a case may hinge. It’s up to your D.C. DUI lawyer to closely examine the facts of your case to determine whether an issue like this may be relevant.
In this case, the 38-year-old officer who had been with the police force six years, reportedly crashed his marked police cruiser on Route 1. There were bits of debris scattered across the roadway, where there were skid marks and tire tracks that led down an embankment and into a ditch.
No one else was involved in the crash and the officer was not injured.
When the officer submitted to a breathalyzer test, the results came back as 0.13 percent. That is clearly above the legal limit of 0.08 (although, we all realize that breathalyzer test have a spotty record of accuracy).
Prosecutors had purported that the officer was off-duty, but he was in control of the police car.
However, the only one who could definitively say that it was the officer behind the wheel was a tow truck driver. This commercial driver indicated that he witnessed the officer emerging from the driver’s side door of the cruiser.
Plus, there was no one else nearby when officers responded to the scene, and the officer didn’t allege at the time that anyone else had been behind the wheel.
Given all this, it may seem common sense deduction that he was the one driving.
However, there was no video evidence of him behind the wheel and there was no testimony from the responding officers indicating that they had actually seen their fellow officer behind the wheel. Without some other form of definitive proof that he was driving, the judge likely had no other choice but to acquit.
Did it have anything to do with the fact that the officer earlier in the year had saved lives after risking his own by racing into a burning building? That kind of thing is certainly not supposed to matter. We don’t know if the judge was even aware of it, but what may have worked in his favor was the fact that he is a police officer. They often tend to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Still, it seems in this case that it really was simply a matter of a technicality.
The officer may still face sanctions from the department itself, though.
According to The Washington Post, he had been immediately suspended while the department conducted its own internal investigation. The officer has been placed on desk duty, as the internal investigation is not yet complete.
The standards for an internal investigation may not be as rigid as those for a criminal conviction. That said, the fact that he was acquitted certainly won’t hurt.
If you are facing DUI charges in D.C., contact the Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights or fill out our online contact form. Visa, Mastercard and Discover cards accepted. Call 202-596-5716.