A Cautionary Tale of a Wrongful DUI

Think you can’t be wrongfully accused of driving under the influence (DUI)? Think again. While it doesn’t happen in most DUI arrests, it can and does happen on occasion and here is a real-life example that occurred in Milwaukee, Wisconsin a few years back:

In the spring of 2014, a Milwaukee sheriff's deputy ran a stop sign, caused a violent car accident, and arrested the other driver for DUI. The accident broke the victim's neck in four places. At the time of the accident, she was too hurt to provide a breath test, but the deputy arrested her for drunk driving anyway.

"My reputation is everything to me," she said. The woman remembers the accident clearly and described it as "very scary." According to reports, the squad car T-boned her vehicle and shoved it into a tree.

As emergency responders helped the woman, sheriff's officers began asking questions. One alleged the "odor of alcohol" on her breath. "I told them [I had] a few sips from a friend's drink," the woman recalled. Another deputy said that her eyes were red and glassy. The woman explained, "My eyes were red and glassy because I was crying."

When law enforcement asked if she was taking any prescription drugs, she mentioned a Vicodin prescription, but noted that she hadn't taken the medication in over a week.

Although she was too injured to provide a breath sample, the woman soon faced five criminal charges, including DUI and DUI causing injury. "They made me into this criminal," she said. One DUI expert told reporters the arrest was founded on so little evidence that it could be unlawful.

In the police report, the deputy recorded that he stopped and looked both directions before entering the intersection, but a nearby surveillance video indicated otherwise. The video shows the squad car traveling through the intersection without making a complete stop.

Even though the sheriff's office discovered the video several days after the accident, the office did not inform the victim. Instead, she received letters from the county demanding payment for damages caused to the squad car.

In addition to the video, a blood test revealed that the woman had no alcohol in her system.Five months later, prosecutors declined to press charges. "I knew I was innocent this whole time," the woman said.


Sadly, people can be wrongfully accused of DUI. In the above case, fortunately there was video footage that proved the woman’s innocence. If something similar has happened to you, if you’ve been wrongfully accused of DUI, we urge you to contact our Orange County DUI firm to schedule a free case evaluation with a board-certified DUI defense specialist.

Related: What Details Can Impact a DUI Case?

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