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When a law-enforcement "expert" is not, well, an expert

Imagine a scenario in which a police officer has been deigned as a so-called "drug recognition expert" based upon participation in a departmental training program. And then further imagine that individual subsequently being lauded for using that training to arrest 90 people in DUI/DUID stops in a single year.

What do you think the result might be the next time that officer sees a motorist momentarily cross a traffic line or fail to use a turn indicator when changing lanes?

One motorist in a Georgia county found out last year. She is a young woman who was returning home from a waitressing shift when, following her encounter with a police officer who pulled her over, her life changed dramatically.

Although the story happened outside Colorado, we note its details for our readers across the state, believing it is notably relevant to all motorists who can be stopped in an instant by a police officer alleging their inability to drive owing to inebriation or drug use.

Decidedly, the waitress was not so impaired, a point she made repeatedly to the officer who stopped her and ultimately decided she needed to be handcuffed, spend the night in jail and submit to multiple breath, blood and urine tests.

All those tests came back negative, and prosecutors ultimately dropped all charges against her.

Her victory was hollow, though. Her arrest resulted in the yanking of her permit to serve alcohol at work, a necessary prerequisite to carrying out her job duties. And she reportedly spent several thousand dollars seeking to exonerate herself.

The "guesswork" that she and her attorney say predominantly guided the arresting officer's conclusions and other similarly "trained" individuals is "ruining people's lives," she noted in the wake of her ordeal.

Seasoned defense attorneys know intimately well the many and varied flaws and inconsistencies that can feature in an alcohol- or drug-related traffic stop. An officer's subjectivity can predominate in such an encounter, with questionable training and other problematic factors also weighing in.

Given that, many detained and criminally charged motorists reasonably find that their best interests can be optimally promoted through timely consultation with a proven DUI defense attorney. Experienced legal counsel will closely examine all aspects of an arrest and insist that authorities prove every element of their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

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