I handle a lot of DWI and DUI cases in Missouri and Illinois and have seen a lot of very interesting cases. As a DWI lawyer, it is disturbing, the number of cases wherein the police blatantly step over the line of proper policing by consistently stopping people solely on the the gamble that if a person is driving late at night on a weekend, and particularity a holiday weekend, that they are drunk driving.
Two drunk driving cases I recently handled last month highlight this abuse and the descriptions below are based on undisputed facts:
- Designated driver goes through a sobriety checkpoint in a convertible, police officer interviews him briefly, indicates he is fine, and tells him to proceed. Well, the driver was taking his friends to a local gas station for beer and on the way back the same officer accused him of drinking and driving and ran him through a battery of field sobriety tests and arrested him without probable cause, why? because there was a case of beer in the back of the car. No other possible explanation for the harassment.
- Police stop my client who was driving an ATV, specifically, a Rhino 660, which is a side by side seater 4 wheeler that essentially looks like a small jeep. The officer stopped him because he was on the road for a brief time to get to his neighbors property. The officer arrested him for DWI and illegal operation of an ATV on the road. Again, ridiculous! The Missouri definition of an ATV that is illegal to drive on the road is less than 600lbs, straddle seating as opposed to side by side, handlebars as opposed to a steering wheel, and less than 50: wide. My client’s vehicle clearly, upon simply looking at it, did not fall under any of these specifications.
My advice to the police, enforce the laws on the books and stop using the ends to justify the means of arrest through harassment an blatantly unfounded charges. I vigorously fight these cases.