Journalists across the nation, including here in Michigan, have been buzzing lately after a Utah state trooper was accused of wrongfully arresting people and charging them with DUIs despite passing field sobriety tests and subsequent chemical testing.
At least 40 people have contacted a lawyer now who filed a class-action lawsuit, on their behalf, against the officer back in December. Along with client testimonies, attorney will be using a collection of dash-cam recordings that not only show people passing field sobriety tests but still being arrested afterwards.
In some of the cases, after chemical testing proved that many of the drivers had not been drinking, some of the charges were dropped or reduced. But some of the victims in the lawsuit have called for further compensation, one victim even pointing out that he had to pay $3,000 in fines to get his car back after he was wrongfully arrested.
Attorneys in the case point out that this isn’t the first time that the officer’s actions have been called into question. A 2009 incident ended in the department paying a man $40,000 after dash-cam video showed her stun-gunning a man while still seated in his car. At a court hearing in May 2012, the officer even admitted to removing her microphone during a 2010 traffic stop so that her supervisor wouldn’t know that she was performing an unauthorized action.
Drivers here in Michigan have been left wondering if something like this could happen here, and the scary truth is that something like this could happen anywhere. That’s why it’s always important for people to seek legal assistance when charged with drunk driving because you never know if the accusations against you are falsified in anyway.
Source: ABC News, “Fired Utah State Trooper Lisa Steed Accused of Falsifying DUI Arrests,” John Schriffen, Jan. 4, 2013