Are women targeted when officers make DUI arrests? The answers may be yes, at least in Florida. A Florida State Trooper, Melvin Arthur, is under investigating for targeting women in making DUI arrests, according to the Herald Tribune.
Trooper Arthur is believed to have arrested an unusually high number of women. Statistics of his arrests compared to other officers support this conclusion. His recent arrest of Sally Adams is noteworthy because it is on video. It is hard to understand why Adams was arrested from looking at the video or why she was even asked to perform field sobriety tests and not simply given a citation for the alleged equipment violation.
Adams blew significantly below the legal limit, but even if she had refused the breath test, this would have made a strong case for the defense at trial. The article was reported in the Herald Tribute and can be found by clicking the attached link.
Since there is a video of the arrest, this article and link gives me a great opportunity as a Massachusetts OUI Lawyer to discuss some of the important factors that make for a strong defense at trial and show why it is puzzling why there was even arrest in this case.
Lets look at four things that stand out that make this a strong case for trial.
1. There was no erratic driving; the motorist was stopped for having a plate light out. She pulled over safely and drove appropriately at all times.
2. She got in and out of the car several times and the officers initial reaction was not, she is drunk, but was to look at her plate light and try to help her fix it. She asked the officer for help, not something someone would do if under the influence of alcohol.
3. While the HGN test does not come into evidence in a Massachusetts OUI arrest, the officer performed it incorrectly moving his pen across the face at too high rate of speed for an accurate administration of the test.
4. The video shows it appears she passes the one leg stand and nine step walk and turn. Interestingly, the officer appears to lose balance turing on the instructions on the nine step walk and turn and only takes three steps.
In many OUI arrests in Massachusetts, there would not be a video of field tests being administered on the side of the road. When there is no video, a Massachusetts OUI Lawyer can attack the officer’s conclusion and opinion by understanding how the officer is suppose to administer the test and finding ways to undermine the officer’s credibility and reliability of the opinion.
While many officers perform their job with integrity, this article shows that because it is easy to justify an OUI arrest and it is a crime of opinion, an officer may have a bias in making an arrests. In this case, the investigation surrounds whether the officer signaled out attractive women in making arrests. According to the Herald Tribune Article, the Trooper’s arrests statistics are unusual, while the average number of women arrested in Florida was 25% the Trooper Arthur had a 66% female arrest ratio. It will be interesting to see the results of the investigation. Those arrested for OUI in Massachusetts should keep in mind that an arrest is not a conviction; it is easy to be arrested for OUI, but a conviction requires a jury to say there is proof to a near moral certitude required to meet the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.