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Wisconsin woman fights bogus drunk driving charges for 10 months

Although most law enforcement officers tend to be honest and well-intentioned, the sad reality is that some abuse their power and take undue advantage of the credibility that comes with their badge. This appears to be what happened in the case of a young Wisconsin woman whose car was struck by a Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy.

The accident proved to be the deputy’s fault, but the woman was nonetheless arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Despite the fact that blood tests showed no alcohol or drugs in her system, several criminal charges including OWI were pending for nearly a year before the case was resolved. It now appears as though the sheriff’s deputy was trying to cover up his own mistakes and that the sheriff’s office seemingly acted in collusion.

The car accident happened in February 2013 near General Mitchell International Airport. Surveillance video footage from the airport shows that the deputy made a rolling stop at a stop sign before causing a T-bone collision into the side of the young woman’s car. The crash broke her neck in four places.

The deputy would later file a report saying that he had made a complete stop and that the young woman had caused the crash. This seemingly went unquestioned for months even though the Sheriff’s Office learned of the security video two days after the accident.

She was arrested and blood samples were taken. Lab results showed no alcohol or drugs in her system. Five months after the incident, a prosecutor declined to file charges but no one told the woman. The County even sent letters demanding that she pay for the crash damage because she was allegedly at fault.

When finally confronted with evidence of the video about 10 months after the fact, the deputy changed his story and admitted he had caused the accident. He never suffered any disciplinary action related to the inaccurate report.

The young woman no longer has any pending criminal charges, but her medical bills related to the crash could exceed $1 million. She may decide to pursue a lawsuit against the County for violation of her civil rights.

Many people assume that they have nothing to fear from law enforcement if they didn’t do anything wrong. As this case demonstrates, that logic does not always hold true. That’s why anyone facing criminal charges needs the help and advocacy of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: Fox 6 Now, "Sober driver arrested for OWI when deputy crashes into her car," Stephen Davis and Bryan Polcyn, May 2, 2014

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