The reports come one after another: DWI arrests of police officers and military members who one would think would know better. We tend to believe that those who enforce the law shouldn't be breaking the law. But law officers do suffer DWI arrest and charge. And when they do, they face special challenges because of their status.
Consider these two recent examples. The first report highlights the DWI arrest of a Fort Worth officer allegedly sitting asleep in his squad car outside an elementary school. The story shares the foreseeable consequences, even for a police lieutenant with fourteen years of service: transport to jail and, after release and charge, confiscation of gun and badge, and placement on restricted duty.
The second report is of another veteran officer, an off-duty San Angelo police officer, allegedly detained and then arrested in a highway traffic stop for showing signs of intoxication. The report indicates that the DWI charge resulted in an internal investigation with an Office of Professional Standards and the predictable reassignment to desk duty.
The Special Implications for Officers of a DWI Charge
One might say good that an officer's intoxicated driving results in DWI charges rather than the matter getting swept under the figurative rug. The law should apply equally to all of us, no matter our special responsibilities, statuses, and privileges. In America, we hold everyone accountable, especially those whom we entrust with special positions of power.
But at the same time, one has to have compassion for the hard-working, decent, veteran officer who makes the intoxicated-driving mistake that so many others make, knowing that for an officer, the DWI charge carries special implications. And one should have even more compassion for an officer whom authorities wrongly charge with a DWI offense that the officer did not commit. Read more here about how to beat a baseless DWI charge.
The above officers' reassignment to desk duty, and the second story's reference to a formal Professional Standards investigation, hint at a DWI charge's serious implications for officers. Police officers and military members must maintain their character and fitness for duty. Departments and agencies don't entrust unfit persons with a law-enforcement role that includes guns, squad cars, legal authority to seize drugs, cash, and other evidence, and make arrests. Unfit officers and military members lose their jobs and careers, and all the security and standing that comes with them. Officers and military members have a lot on the line with a DWI charge.
Defending Police Officers and Military Members
It is critical to recognize, then, that a DWI charge may or may not indicate unfitness for duty. The defendant officer or military member may not be guilty of the crime. Read more here on how DWI Specialist Doug Murphy defends a DWI case. Officers and military members have the same presumption of innocence and right to an aggressive defense as the rest of us. But even in the case of a provable DWI offense, officers and military members may, with skilled representation, show that the offense does not establish unfitness for duty. When judging fitness, context is everything. Skilled counsel can help defeat false allegations and wrong inferences of unfitness, even in the event of other evidence of a DWI offense.
If you are an officer or military member facing a DWI charge, then you need 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year Doug Murphy's help to defend and defeat the charge and ensure your ability to prove your continuing duty fitness. Know your DWI rights. Retain Doug Murphy to preserve and enforce those rights. Doug Murphy is a Board Certified DWI specialist and one of only two Texas lawyers holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your case today.