The Dangers of Driving while Sober (continued)
In my opinion, officer Corken was determined to arrest me. He kept asking me if I was on prescription drugs, which I repeatedly denied. If I had taken a breathalyzer in his car and passed, I would still have gone to jail under suspicion that it was prescription drugs, but he would not have stated that I “reeked” of alcohol. Clearly, blowing a .000% proved that I could not have reeked of alcohol.
I could delve into whether this was racially motivated- white cop, brown guy. Maybe he thought I was an illegal immigrant, or a terrorist. In doing so, would I then be saying that it’s ok for a white cop to do the same exact thing to a poor white guy? And in doing so, wouldn’t I be announcing to the world that I too am a racist by making race an issue without clear evidence that this was his motive? This may be lost on a large segment of society, but it’s irrelevant the color of skin color of the officer or myself. What is relevant is that this officer falsely arrested an individual for a crime he did not commit.
Whatever his personal reason for arresting me was, it was wrong. The fact that he stated that I “reeked” of alcohol even though I clearly didn’t shows that he wasn’t being professional. He makes the statement as proof, but in doing so shows that he’s interested in scoring a point, not making the right call.
Keep in mind, I’m 6’2, 225 and had only one drink. I’m a big guy and I did not drink a lot. Most people are smaller than me and alcohol will have a greater effect on them than it would on me. If I can get arrested after having one drink, it could happen to you too.
Prior to this incident, my attitude towards drunk driving was much like many of you. If you drink responsibly, have only one or two drinks, you won’t get arrested. The legal limit gives you some leeway to go out to a restaurant and have a drink, maybe two, or three with your meal. That used to be my belief.
Now my view is different. Is the legal limit so strict that a 10-year veteran of what is supposed to be Louisiana’s finest police force, can’t tell the difference between reaching the legal limit and being absolutely sober? It seems to me that lowering the “legal limit” only makes incidents such as mine more likely. That more people will be arrested even though they are sober, and in many of those cases they may have prescription drugs in their system from earlier in the day, but because it’s in their system they would be prosecuted. Do we really want to damage the lives of innocent people? Is this really the road we want to go down?
Previoulsy, I believed in being honest with the officer, cooperate, and just accept the ticket. Now, I still believe in cooperating and accepting the ticket, but now I see that the law compels you to lie, or risk going to jail.
Prior to this, I would drive down the street without worrying about being arrested for DUI. Now, anytime that I see an East Baton Rouge sheriff’s SUV driving down the street, I have to take a second look for fear it might be that state Patrolman.
I do take issue that admitting to having one drink is probable cause that I was under the influence of alcohol. If it is, would you also say that admitting to making a withdrawal from the bank and having cash in your hand is probable cause that you robbed the bank?
There must be consequences to irresponsible behavior. Whether you’re a hardened criminal or just a regular guy who happened to commit a traffic violation, there are consequences. Wearing a badge should not make a person exempt from consequences of their actions. If we don’t, incidents like this will only increase.