Jumping to Conclusions in DWI Cases
You Are Under Arrest for DWI Because You Must Be Drunk
Police officers can jump to conclusions in any type of case, but it is especially prevalent in DWI cases. Anyone pulled over for a traffic offense after midnight is already under suspicion of drunk driving. Often the first question an officer will ask during a late night traffic stop will be, “Have you had anything to drink tonight?” If a person admits to having even one drink the police will often assume the person is drunk unless proven otherwise. Guilty until proven innocent is not the way our criminal justice is supposed to operate. Jumping to conclusions can often make people look like fools, as the following anecdote will illustrate.
The Old Lady and the Cookies
An older lady was waiting for a flight at the airport when she began to get hungry. She decided to buy herself a bag of small chocolate chip cookies to tide her over before her flight. After she bought the bag of cookies she sat down at a table in a lounge next to a younger man. She began to eat her cookies one by one out of the bag of cookies on the table as she sat there. To her complete surprise every time she would eat a cookie the younger gentleman at the table would reach into the bag and eat a cookie also. Although this frustrated and enraged her, she did not say or do anything. Finally they reached the last cookie in the bag. The lady was curious to see how the gentleman would handle the situation. The gentleman reached into the bag, removed the last cookie, broke the cookie in half, and offered half to the lady. The lady was shocked by his nerve. She ate her half of the cookie, stood up and stormed away without looking back.
The lady found her gate, boarded her plane, and took her seat. As she sat there she continued to stew in anger over the gentleman who stole half of her cookies. To take her mind off of the incident she reached down into her carry on bag to get a magazine. When she reached into the bag she jumped at what her hand touched. She was filled with complete embarrassment and bewilderment as she removed a full bag of cookies from her carry on bag. The gentleman had not stolen half of her cookies. Instead, without saying a word he had shared half of his cookies with her, right down to half of his last cookie.
Perception is Reality … and Reality Can Be Wrong
If perception is reality, then when perception is wrong reality is also wrong. A person is pulled over for weaving, has blood shot and watery eyes, and admits to having a beer. The overwhelming perception in this case is that the person is drunk. The overwhelming perception is debunked when we find out the person was playing with the radio, has allergies, and really only did have one beer. Unfortunately for most defendants, police perception becomes reality.
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