“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Friday, May 29, 2009

Finishing the story

Woke up this morning at 2am and couldn't get back to sleep, then had a long, very frustrating day... so I will try to be as lucid as possible throughout this but apologize in advance for any errors or drifting off course...

So to finish the other morning's story...

Worked another DUI special Monday night - trying to catch some of the holiday partiers before they wrecked or hurt anyone, and just planned to be out for five hours or so & then an early night. For the first four & a half of it I couldn't find water if I fell out of a boat.... a couple of cheesy tickets but nothing worthwhile. Mostly just felt like I was driving in circles not accomplishing anything, which tends to get old quickly for me.

Then, as I'm starting to wind things down & think about gassing up for the drive home, I have a car not just run a stop sign but completely ignore it as he almost t-bones me whipping out & then making a wide turn. In police work, we often refer to this as a "clue" & I figured that was a good stop to chat...

He takes a moment to realize I'm there, and then comes to a stop on one of the side streets in the project area I'm passing through at that moment. As I come up to the car I've already got my little voice talking to me, so not only do I ask for his license and registration but I also tell him to turn off the car - I'm really not in the mood to start chasing people tonight. I also see his passenger, one of the area "businesswomen" as it were (and well past her prime...) so I have an idea what he's doing around here.

Tonight's client has a little bit of that drinking smell about him, but he's DEFINITELY got something going on as I start talking with him. We quickly get past the preliminaries of who we are & why I stopped him, and I start asking about tonight's consumption. No sir, I haven't been drinking - well, just one beer at 1pm, but that was hours ago. I'm just on my way home from a friend's and was giving this girl a ride to her house. No, I don't know her name. No, I'm not sure where my "friend" lives - somewhere in the apartments "back there," with a vague wave in the direction he came from. I just got distracted reaching for my cigarettes and didn't see the sign in time.

Fortunately I've played most of these games before, so my next question is "So are you taking any medications sir?" It's truly amazing the answers you get too - the number of people who either deny ever drinking, or honestly haven't been, but will give you a list of medications they are on a mile long & apparently think it's ok to drive while consuming. For example, our answer here was "Oh yeah, I just took six Percocets about a half hour ago, that's all." Yes - SIX. I remember what one did to me after surgery, I can't even imagine what level of use you are at to be taking six & still walking, much less driving.

Obviously by now I know we're going to be more than a few minutes, so I've already got another unit coming to back me up on the stop. I start asking more questions to continue my DUI investigation, and it doesn't take me long at all to figure out two things - #1 - this guy is definitely going to be spending some time with me & #2 - he's played this game before. For example, when I ask him if he can read and write, say his alphabet, count simple numbers & things like that - no, no he can't do those, sorry sir. Now sure, there are plenty of folks out there who unfortunately can't. Not many of them though will tell me two minutes later about being a supply clerk in the military, and you have to have some basic ability to even get a license much less function in society. Same thing when it comes time to ask him to get out of the car to do any performance tests like walking a line; we've gone from functioning enough to obviously get in & out of the car & drive, to "No, I'm disabled and use a wheelchair for everything. It's in the back. I can't walk or even stand."

Again, I've known plenty of disabled folks who drive just fine and need wheelchairs for everything else. Not many of them drive sporty cars without any sort of lift setup or similar accommodations. Plus, we get back to our marvelously incredible story when I ask more questions. How did you get in the car tonight? "Oh, she helped me." Meaning the magical hooker who I've already talked to separately & admitted to just getting in the car two minutes ago. The same one who told me they were on their way to score some rock before heading to her place, but I stopped them too soon. How were you going to get out when you get home? "I'll just call my wife or someone to come downstairs and get me out." No, this is just the case of the guy who has played the DUI game before and is doing everything he can to not only avoid the tests, hoping I won't be able to do anything, but also to maybe avoid jail out of the sympathy/difficulty card... I even take a moment to run a quick check on his record to make sure the suspected prior is there (which of course, it is.)

This is one of those times it is nice to have some experience and background doing this sort of stuff, along with teaching it & knowing what to look for and some of my alternatives. Yes, doing a DUI arrest without all my field tests isn't as easy - there is a reason for the tests after all, and they make great evidence in court that is backed up by case studies and case law. But I also still get to use all my other observations, questions, notes and everything else to help in the case when it comes time - after all, that is all a trial is really, is painting a picture for a judge or jury as to what happened... so I spend the next little bit just asking plenty of questions, using my eyes and ears and everything else & getting my little notes down to put in my case file for this one. Like a lot of DUI's this one pretty much let me know he was being arrested within the first couple of minutes of the stop itself - everything else is just building the foundation and the walls higher.

Well, finally I reach the point of about all I really can do on the street for this one, plus I've worked out with one of the road supervisors how we are going to handle the transport given his mobility issues. In all fairness, even though I doubt parts of his story, I certainly can't just ask the guy to stand up & throw the cuffs on him and see what happens - I have to treat him with the same courtesy, respect & accommodation anyone else gets, and figure out a way to work around things.

So, we get things sorted out, I tell him the magic words "You're under arrest," and get to the jail... where, surprise surprise, we don't want to take the breath or blood test - not that I wasn't expecting this. Again, just another sign that he's played this game before, and thinks he can avoid his problems by not giving that sample as well. It just means a bit more paperwork in general, and I add to it by typing out a search warrant for that blood sample. I figure I've already built plenty of probable cause with the case in general, so why not get that bit more evidence to bring into court on the day in question. Which means yet another round of moving him, picking him up & getting in and out of vehicles over at the hospital, then back to the jail again.

Once that is all over I can FINALLY start on the actual arrest paperwork - like many people have said in other jurisdictions, a DUI takes more paperwork than just about anything except a major homicide, and is often fought harder. Not only do we have the normal things like property forms, an arrest report, witness subpoenas and such, there is a whole separate stack of things I have to include just for the DUI. This is all before I even get close to taking him up in front of a magistrate for a hearing - so if you're starting to get the impression it is a time consuming, tedious process, then you are correct. Not something you want to shortcut either - not only because you want to win the cases you take to court, but you owe it to the people you arrest to give them your best effort and not cut corners, if that makes sense. As I make an effort to explain to recruits, when your actions can result in someone losing their freedom for a year or more, their job, their home and everything else that could possibly come of this, then you have a duty to make sure that you are absolutely fair, correct and factual in doing so. Which means, in the case of a DUI like this, hours worth of work - and I'm already up much later than I had planned... He even starts griping to me about how "This is taking too long, why do we have to do all this?" which leads to me reminding him who made our date tonight, and it certainly wasn't my decisions that got us here...

We finally get up to the magistrate and I go through my speech on things to get my warrants - which is where his whole "Oh, I'm just a poor, disabled veteran and I don't even know what I did to get arrested." speech... I know it's b.s., he knows it's b.s., even the magistrate knows... but what can I do but let him have his say. A short time later I'm able to wrap up my end of things & pass him off to the deputies for the night; he'll see the judge in the morning once he's sobered up, and then get a chance at a bond or being released on his signature until the date of trial.

So, that's the story of how I spent my night, and why I found it so amusing and frustrating at the same time.

1 comment:

Front Porch Society said...

That man definitely needs to grow up. Amazing all the types of people we run into, isn't it?