As police officers know, a criminal charge changes how people look at you. While there are many different types of crimes, the common link is always a criminal record. DUI is one of the most common arrests in California and it affects all walks of life, from officers to civilians. A DUI on your record can influence your job prospects, your right to drive and many more elements of your personal and professional life.
The public has high standards of conduct for law enforcement. Any time an officer is accused of violating a law there is additional scrutiny.
Facing DUI charges
As with any charge, it depends on circumstances and severity. A first time DUI offense is serious, but the consequences are less severe than repeat offenses. In addition to criminal history, the level of intoxication and the conditions at the scene of the citation will influence the penalty. If you are driving an official work vehicle or transporting a child, for example, consequences are likely to be more severe. The same applies if there was an accident.
In most cases, a driver will not lose his or her license or job for a first offense--though this depends if you have driving-specific elements to your job, as well as unique elements of the case, like being involved in a high profile arrest or a serious crash. Many first time DUI offenses are misdemeanors, which means your reputation may be tarnished, but not irreparably.
As you know from working in law enforcement, everyone is entitled to criminal defense. Drunk driving is an accusation and the state must prove your guilt. An experienced lawyer will review your case to make sure the arresting officer followed protocol, applied accurate sobriety testing and used sound judgment.
While drinking and driving is never acceptable, there are cases where inaccurate testing and misinterpretation of behavior or physical traits have caused false arrest. Your record and your reputation are essential in law enforcement. If you've been accused of a crime, there is a lot at risk--perhaps your career. A DUI is more than a hit to your wallet, it's a hit against your name and your professional reputation.