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Officer found to falsify DUI arrests

Since April, the Utah Highway Patrol has been investigating one of their own for DUI and drug-related offenses, but not the way one might think. Two judges found in April that she had been committing perjury by lying on the witness stand during testimony on DUI and drug possession cases. She has also been accused of suppressing evidence. Perhaps most alarmingly, there have been a number of discrepancies between her arrest reports and the results from the labs in those cases. Four drivers she arrested on drug-related charges were found to have had no drugs in their system by the lab.

She is facing dismissal for the misconduct, but those she has wrongly accused face far worse. Drug and DUI charges can have serious and long-lasting effects on the lives of those arrested or found guilty, including the inability to operate a motor vehicle, fines, and possibly jail-time. Any of these could adversely affect the ability to find and maintain gainful employment, creating a challenging financial situation for the individuals and families involved.

We, of course, always want to assume that law enforcement officers do the right thing in every situation. This case, however, casts doubt on the actions of law enforcement officers who may be more concerned with reaching a certain quota of arrests than with the rights of the citizens they are sworn to protect.

Drug and DUI charges can be damaging to a person's reputation and livelihood, and thus require an aggressive defense. If there has been evidence tampering or a defendant has been wrongly accused, a criminal defense attorney can help to make the situation right.

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle, "Utah moves to fire trooper criticized in DUI cases," Nov. 8, 2012

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