According to the Los Angeles Times, the number of L.A. County Sherriff’s Deputies being charged with alcohol related crimes is on the rise. In 2008, 70 sworn officers were arrested, mostly for DUI. This is compared with 24 in 2004.
What is frightening about this trend is that in many of the cases, the officers were carrying firearms at the time. While most of the arrests didn’t end with additional firearm related charges, some did and these are what has prompted Sherriff Baca to put tougher policies in place, perhaps the toughest in the nation.
In the high stress career of law enforcement, drinking has always had its place. Now, however, attitudes towards drinking to excess have changed. Both colleagues and upper management are less likely to turn a blind eye to an officer’s drinking problems or incidences leading to arrest.
In situations where the deputy was armed and intoxicated, it creates a frightening scenario both for the public and for the department looking to uphold an air of respect and professionalism. The incident described in this article where an officer kissed a bar patron and showed his weapon before kissing her again likely put her in serious fear and forever changed her view of law enforcement.
It just goes to show that all types of people get charged with alcohol related offenses. While law enforcement officers may deal with the added repercussions of job suspensions, regular people look at potential jail sentences and fines.
For instance, if convicted of a first time DUI offense, you face penalties including at least 48 hours in jail DUI school, driver’s license suspension, fines, and court probation. As your criminal history mounts, so does the potential penalties.
Being charged with a DUI is frightening no matter who you are. If you or someone you know is facing charges like this, call me to discuss your case and how we can best handle your defense.