By WILLIAM FRANCIS
Words of Encouragement for Nice People
Consider this possibility: The police got it wrong.
Maybe you were stopped for a minor, technical violation of the Oregon Rules of the Road for Drivers. Maybe you didn't do anything wrong.
After the barrage of propaganda and publicity the government has sponsored, warning the public of the dangers of DUI, many people believe (incorrectly) that it's against the law to have a drink and then drive in Oregon.
At the same time, police have been trained to enforce DUI laws relentlessly. Once law enforcement officers form the slightest suspicion that a person they have pulled over was drinking (in any amount at all), they conduct an investigation.
DUI investigations are done everywhere in the United States according to the same standards and training. They're designed to give the police additional evidence that will be used against any person they arrest when the case goes to court.
Police also are trained to administer tests and procedures that result in the suspension drivers' licenses by the DMV.
Police officers are trained to make observations that support decisions to arrest people. Private citizens should be aware that law enforcement officers already are making observations and decisions, long before the emergency lights go on.
Police are taught to write reports in ways that portray drivers in the most damaging ways. When the police write their reports, they're likely to criticize pretty much anything a driver says or does.
It doesn't matter that you have a perfect driving record. It doesn't matter that it was your birthday. It doesn't matter that you got a promotion and wanted to enjoy an adult beverage with friends. Everything you do, both before and after you're stopped, along with everything you say, will be written down and kept in a police file. This information will be offered in court to prove you're guilty of a crime.
It's very unlikely, once the police begin a DUI investigation, that you will be allowed to go on your way.
In fact, roadside tests are known by another name in the police training manuals. They're called "the pre-arrest screening.”
These are subjects that I enjoy talking about at trials, when police officers are on the witness stand and I cross examine them.
The typical reaction of anyone who has never been stopped by the police is to talk. Talking to the police after a stop is a mistake.