When it comes to DWI cases here in Louisiana, a conviction can often come down to an officer's testimony versus the testimony of the person charged with a crime. This means that the police officer's would has to be trusted if a judge is expected to may a proper ruling, but what if that officer's word cannot be trusted? This is the very situation that authorities in St. Tammany Parish are facing, and it could unravel several DWI cases.
Did an Officer Falsify an Arrest Report?
A young National Guard member was driving with friends when he was pulled over by a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff. He was subjected to field sobriety tests before being arrested and having his life turned upside-down. The National Guardsman had a previous DWI conviction, and a second one would have wrecked his career. So, it was no surprise when he fought the charges. What did surprise everyone, was when a video filmed by his friend who was on the scene showed him passing the field sobriety test that the arresting officer claimed the soldier failed.
The subsequent investigation led to the officer involved resigning his position, and now other arrests that this officer has made are coming under scrutiny. At least one conviction has been vacated so far, and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's office is expected to hire an outside investigator to look at other cases this officer may have falsified. More convictions could be vacated, and pending cases could also be dismissed.
When dealing with any DWI or DUI situation, the word of the accused and that of the officer are very important to the case. The smallest issue with your testimony could mean all the difference when facing a possible conviction, and this is why remembering your rights so important. To continue learning about our criminal justice system, keep following the Martzell, Bickford & Centola blog. We look out for the rights of the people facing criminal charges.