It's been a tough month for law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania. A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the DUI charge against an off-duty state trooper who, ironically, had just left a golf event memorializing a drunk driving victim. Now a member of the Pennsylvania State Police has been charged with DUI while on duty.
The 47-year-old suspect is a police veteran of 19 years. Working out of Reading at the time, he was arrested about five hours into his shift. A breath test was apparently administered, and the officer's blood-alcohol level was shown to be over 0.08 percent. The exact results of the breath test were not disclosed by authorities.
The arrest was made based on a tip provided by an officer working for a different police department. According to a captain with the state police, the suspect and the officer were talking when the latter noticed that the suspect might have been intoxicated.
The captain went on to say that two investigations would ensue, one regarding the DUI charge and the other regarding internal affairs. There was no alcohol found in the accused trooper's vehicle, but he has been suspended from the police force pending the results of a DUI investigation. If he is convicted, it appears the officer could lose his job.
This case may remind our readers that just about anyone can be subject to DUI charges. That doesn't mean, however, that everyone who is accused of drunk driving is necessarily guilty. As this particular story illustrates, police officers are not above making mistakes, and no Pennsylvania resident who is facing a DUI charge deserves to be punished on the basis of faulty police work. Others who have been accused of drunk driving should be fully aware of their rights under Pennsylvania law.
Source: WFMZ.com, "PSP trooper accused of driving patrol car while drunk, on duty," July 13, 2012