Abuse of Power by Police Officers

As a DUI defense lawyer, I’m determined to get the word out: it is important to know your rights when a police officer stops you on DUI-DWI suspicions. One major reason for this is to prevent any potential abuse of power before it happens.

Our police force is dedicated to keeping us safe, and most police officers do not abuse their power. Unfortunately, there are individual exceptions.

In 2007, a Utah Highway Patrol officer named Lisa Steed was named Trooper of the Year for making over 200 arrests. In 2009, she was nominated for the same award as a result of over 400 arrests – a highly unusual number for any individual trooper. In 2012, she was fired for a multitude of false DUI-DWI arrests throughout her career.

Early in the lawsuit, the attorneys working on the case were approached by at least forty people with shocking information. In one instance, a woman was forced to take several breath tests and was then arrested despite having passed each one. In another instance, a man was not only arrested but forced to pay a large sum in fines after Steed made false claims that he was driving well above the legal limit. A third instance involved her Tasering a driver who was later determined to be sober. By April of 2015, 2,000 alleged victims had come forward, causing the court to consider escalating the case to a class-action lawsuit.

Although such an extreme abuse of power does not happen often, this is just one reason why you should never allow yourself to be at an officer’s mercy. Law-abiding people often do not know their legal rights in case of being pulled over by a police officer. This is what allows a case like Steed’s to happen.

We cannot stress enough that if you are ever stopped by police, it is in your absolute best interest to call a DUI defense lawyer immediately!

For more information, contact Bill Byrnes at the Byrnes Law Firm at 636-896-4300.