Drunk driving arrests and accidents often involve unlikely defendants. In a 2011 case, a former Mount Vernon police officer was involved in a fatal drunk-driving accident. He was arrested for another DUI in June and could be headed to prison. Many repeat drunk drivers also have addiction and substance abuse problems. For those suffering from alcoholism, treatment options could reduce a criminal sentence and prevent future accidents. In this case, an Alabama police officer is now facing additional criminal penalties and may face prison time for violating probation and his second DUI.
Repeat DUI offenders will likely face additional and harsher penalties, especially if they were on probation or driving on a suspended license. Our Birmingham DUI defense attorneys are dedicated to providing comprehensive and strategic advocacy to protect the rights of our clients. We will take the time to review the evidence in your case and explore all available defenses. For repeat offenders or individuals who have an alcohol or substance abuse problem, it is possible to seek alternative sentencing options or to reduce penalties for those who seek treatment.
According to local reports, the officer was arrested in June with a beer hidden in his armrest. Though the officer said he hadn’t had anything to drink, police claimed a breath test indicated that the former officer was twice the legal limit. Immediately after the defendant was pulled over, police performed a series of field-sobriety tests. Law enforcement officers then searched his Ford truck and found several unopened beer cans in the passenger seat. Officers allege that there was an open can hidden behind the armrest.
One of the primary issues for the former officer is that the arrest took place while he was on parole following a manslaughter conviction for a 2011 fatal DUI accident. The former officer was convicted after he was involved in an accident that killed a 76-year-old woman. A Circuit Court judge sentenced the former office to 15 years in prison; however, he suspended all but one year, on the condition of a three-year probation period through 2015. It is up to the judge to determine whether the officer violated the conditions of his parole. If the court finds that the officer was in violation, he could be forced to serve the remainder of his sentence (14 years) behind bars.
Despite parole officer reports that the defendant had diligently followed regulations and court documents that state the officer was “nothing but respectful,” the DUI arrest could put him under scrutiny as he is facing very serious second-offense charges and penalties. A parole officer also agreed that the defendant never received proper counseling after the accident. It is unknown whether the officer was referring to grief counseling or alcohol treatment, but the lack of psychological treatment for the officer could have contributed to an alcohol abuse problem.
The former officer and defendant had been employed by the Mount Vernon Police Department prior to the 2011 accident. According to accident reports, he had left his second shift at a steel mill and went drinking with friends. He was on his way home when he crossed the center line on Interstate 45, striking an oncoming vehicle and killing the 76-year-old woman.