Utah is already famous for its stringent laws regarding alcohol consumption, and soon will have the toughest DUI laws in the country. So some locals were not surprised when a woman was charged with DUI despite the fact that she had a blood alcohol level of .01 from one beer she had at lunch.
Despite the fact that her speech was not slurred and her eyes were not bloodshot, the officers said they smelled alcohol in the car and had her perform roadside tests, which they claimed she failed. She was subsequently handcuffed, and taken into custody so she could give a blood sample, which eventually was found to be under the legal limit of driving under the influence.
No due process
The defendant sued Summit County in Utah for forcing her to hire an attorney before the test results from a blood sample were released. That in itself is not the issue, but forcing the case to proceed without blood or breath results is contrary to both state and federal law.
Judges still allow it
The three-judge Appellate Panel rejected her lawsuit because the threshold of conducting a DUI test is much lower than a standard for finding defendants guilty. The premise for the case continuing is based on an investigation involving reasonable suspicion to detain her and have her perform the test. In this case, the cause is based on the defendant admitting that she had one beer during lunch. The judges allowed immunity to the officers and the county, whom the defendant tried to sue.
Drivers need to protect themselves
While Massachusetts is not Utah, this case in federal court illustrates the dangers of divulging too much information when pulled over. The woman was sober and still had to go through this entire arrest and judicial process. The good news is she exercised her rights to fight back and the charges were dropped.
Drivers who have been pulled over here should fight back as well. Despite the judges’ rulings, allowing the case to proceed, the outcome proves that protecting your rights with help of legal guidance is always the right choice.