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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: May 16, 2011
A uniformed man stands guard with a gun and stick in front of a jail cell - Leckerman Law, LLC

The numbers are out and it’s official. For the ninth straight year, the Pennsylvania State Police have set a record for DUI (driving under the influence) arrests. See Pennsylvania State Police: DUI Arrest Record Set Last Year. According to the statistics recently released, the state police arrested 17,695 people for DUI in 2010. This number of DUI arrests is up five percent from 2009.

Nonetheless, arrests do not equal convictions. The number of convictions resulting from these arrests has not been published. There is no doubt that more than of a few of these DUI arrests did not ultimately end up as convictions for a number of reasons. Often, charges are dismissed due to constitutional violations by the police or insufficient evidence of driving under the influence.

Moreover, one apparent reason for the increased arrests is due to the use of drug recognition evaluations (dre). Drug recognition evaluations increased by twenty-nine percent from the previous year, totaling 1,450 evaluations. (See article on the problems with Drug Recognition Evaluations ) The effectiveness of drug recognition evaluations has been highly criticized by defense attorneys and scientists alike as junk science. Additionally, the competence of a police officer to be qualified as a “Drug Recognition Expert” or DRE is questionable. As such, one must wonder how many of the 1,450 drug recognition evaluations resulted in convictions.

Statistics can be misleading. There is extraordinary pressure on police officers to make DUI arrests. In addition, police agencies may be encouraged to report an increased number of arrests in order to receive government funding for DUI-detection training programs. Numerous times in the past, I have represented clients whose blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) have been found to be well below the legal limit. Yet, the police still proceeded to file charges. The police officers and their departments are able to report that a DUI arrest was made, even though it may have been unfounded. Furthermore, keep in mind that police officers get awards from anti-DUI groups for the number of arrests made, not convictions. Therefore, a record number of DUI arrests does not necessarily mean that more people are actually driving while intoxicated.

Contact Leckerman Law for more information.

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