Phony DUI Arrests at Heart of State Trooper Lawsuit

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A Utah State Trooper is facing a lawsuit after 10 years of record setting arrest numbers. Lisa Steed built a reputation as an excellent officer, with a flair for finding drunken motorists. One supervisor even referred to it as an uncanny ability.

As it turns out, those abilities may not have been so much uncanny, as they were unrealistic. Steed and her former superiors are facing a lawsuit that alleges she filed falsified DUI reports. Those she arrested have said the arrests were disruptive and costly.

One man, Michael Choate, was stopped because he was wearing a Halloween costume, and Steed arrested him even though three breathalyzers showed no evidence of alcohol in his system. Choate took four days off of work to fight his DUI charges. They were ultimately dismissed, but he spent $3,800 on DUI attorneys in the process.

Steed was added to the DUI squad in 2009, and she garnered 400 DUI arrests that year. Those arrests were thought to be a state record, until recent allegations, and were more than double the previous DUI arrest record. Her arrests came into question in 2010 when Sgt. Rob Nixon noted that most of her arrests were on signs of impairment of drugs. A bulk of those arrests had no signs of impairing drugs in their systems.

Those listed on the lawsuit want the entire agency removed from their positions and held responsible for the damages Steed caused.

You're Busted… For Believing this DUI Myth!

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In the last of our DUI Myths series (for now), I’d like to talk about field sobriety tests. It feels like whenever we read news articles about a person getting arrested for a DUI, we always see the phrase, “This person failed the field sobriety test.”

A lot of people believe the following:

I am required to take a field sobriety test.

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Absolutely not! The officer may make it seem like you are required to, but you do not need to. You are allowed to decline and say you do not wish to answer any questions unless you have a lawyer present. Remember, you are required to state your name, show your license and registration, and take a BAC test.

Many lawyers don’t like field sobriety tests as proof of a person being drunk. A lot of issues can affect whether or not a person passes a field sobriety test. A person could have a physical handicap, or let their nerves get in the way. Above all, many people believe field sobriety tests are just employed to prove your guilt and they are an ineffective way to detect intoxication.

If I could give any recommendation, it would be to decline the sobriety test as politely as possible and don’t be unruly as you stand your ground.

You're Busted… for Believing This DUI Myth!

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Getting a DUI is a stressful situation and a lot of people believe the following statement:

If you get pulled over for a DUI, kiss your life goodbye. You are automatically guilty of a DUI.

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It practically breaks my heart every time I hear someone say this. There are so many factors and loopholes that can be argued in a DUI case and it is important to remember that police make mistakes, too. There is no reason to plead guilty. Every DUI case is different and each one is worth fighting.

The smartest thing anyone can do is hire a DUI attorney. Yes, you might have made a mistake by having a little too much drink. However, you need to get smart and take responsibility for your actions in the most productive way. Hire a lawyer. Fight your case.

You're Busted… For Believing This DUI Myth.

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Have you heard this one?

If I suck on pennies, I can pass a breathalyzer test.

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I have a friend who SWEARS by this. He claims he sucked on pennies right before taking a breathalyzer and he passed. This guy also think apple juice is an alcoholic beverage, so he’s not the most reliable source.

There has been some rumor floating around that the copper from the pennies will get into your saliva and fool a breathalyzer test. However, it is important to remember the breathalyzer is testing your breath, not your saliva. Even though a chemical reaction may be occurring with your saliva and the metal, the breathalyzer’s reading will not alter. There is no way the copper from a penny will “dilute” your BAC level and lower the reading on the breathalyzer.

Also, putting pennies in your mouth? Gross! You have no idea where those coins have been…

You're Busted… For Believing this DUI Myth!

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We may not be as cool as Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters, but it does not mean debunking DUI myths won’t affect you. I am sure you hear rumors and advice from people across the spectrum about how to beat a DUI. However, we are here to tell you what is true and what is a myth.

MYTH: If I drink coffee or water right before I drive, I will be okay.

Sure, my day does not start without my morning cup of joe. However, if you drink coffee to sober up right after drinking alcohol, you will feel alert but alcohol will still be in your system. Additionally, you will be dehydrating yourself.

Some people believe that drinking water after drinking alcohol will make you okay to drive. Of course, it is always beneficial to drink water and it is my number one warrior against hangovers. However, it is impossible to drink water right after drinking alcohol and quickly sober up. It will not immediately flush the alcohol out of your system and it will not expedite the lowering of your BAC level.

The only way to sober up, my friends, is time. Wait it out and don’t take any unfound shortcuts thinking you can safely drive.