Lawyer Arrested for DUI after Blowing .00
By: Chris Kramer
We at DUI have reported in the past on the violation of constitutional rights that can occur during a DUI arrest. But sometimes it takes an unusual event for someone to take action against a problem - and that event may have occurred in the form of the arrest of defense lawyer Ricardo Velasquez, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Apparently, Velasquez was stopped at a DUI checkpoint while driving his car one night. The arresting officer reportedly asked for Velasquez's license and registration, but didn't even glance at them when the lawyer passed them out.
After repeated demands that he lower his window fully, Velasquez allegedly told the officer that, if the officer intended to place him under arrest, he'd be happy to roll his window down; otherwise, he wanted to get his documentation back and head home.
While most people may have been intimidated by such cop behavior, Velasquez had the advantage of familiarity with the law from his work as an attorney.
When a state trooper arrived on the scene, it seems he told Velasquez that he smelled alcohol and the attorney would be impeding his investigation if he didn't roll his window down further. At that, Velasquez evidently complied and was placed under arrest by the state trooper.
Though he blew a .00 on the breathalyzer (indicating that he had a blood alcohol content or "BAC" of 0%), sources indicate that Velasquez was charged with DWI, as well as resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer. Rather than dread his court date, though, Velasquez reportedly looked forward to his trial as an opportunity to bring to light what he considered unacceptable police behavior.
According to sources, Velasquez believes that many people without access to a lawyer or familiarity with the state's laws suffer from a lack of credibility when they claim police misconduct during a DUI arrest - especially if they're found guilty. He was eager to explain how the arresting officers had violated his constitutional rights by trying to search his car without probable cause.
Unfortunately for the point Velasquez had hoped to make, the arresting officer didn't show up to trial, reports the Observer. The judge dismissed the DWI charge, since the arresting officers had no grounds for bringing it, but Velasquez, it seems, was disappointed.
He's quoted as saying that police officers shouldn't be allowed to overstep their boundaries during an arrest and then effectively have their behavior erased by not showing up for trial. In cases like Velasquez's, officers who display questionable behavior on the job could end up never having to explain themselves and never receiving any sort of discipline.
Velasquez's experience highlights once again the importance of having a DUI lawyer on your side when you're arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI).