Lawmakers and law enforcement officials in Tennessee and the rest of the United States face a particularly tough challenge when it comes to addressing the negative consequences that can result when individuals get drunk. The Prohibition era represents one example of how hard it can be to balance social order and individual rights.
The country tried to ban alcohol with a constitutional amendment and then repealed the change about 14 years later when it became clear it wasn't working. In more recent years, the legal countermeasures have become more focused on specific behaviors through statutes criminalizing driving under the influence or driving while impaired.
The drive to prevent such activities has resulted in laws that impose penalties on drivers suspected of DUI or DWI before they have even been formally charged, putting their rights at risk. That's one of the key reasons why it's so important for those facing such charges to be in touch with an attorney immediately.
The case of a Metro Nashville police officer serves as an example. The veteran officer was cited late last week after the car he was driving crashed into a utility pole in Sumner County. In the days since his arrest, the officer has been decommissioned from his position and now faces charges of DUI. He suffered some injuries in the crash and spent a couple of days in the hospital.
According to investigating officials, the off-duty officer smelled of alcohol at the scene of the crash. They say that despite the state's implied consent law, the driver refused to submit to breath and blood alcohol tests. He likely is aware from his experience as an officer that agreeing to such tests typically isn't in the individual's best legal interests.
A news report about the incident notes that police booked the officer on additional charges related to his refusing the tests and because they claimed to have found four weapons in his car.
The current disposition of the case isn't known. Hopefully this man is not going through the process without legal representation.
Source: WTVF-TV, "Metro Officer Decommissioned, Charged With DUI," April 1, 2013