My daughter was arrested for being a minor in possession/internal possession of alcohol. The arresting officer (Who was female, I add this for a point further on) gave the driver of the car she was in the full run of tests (Walking the line, eye movement, ABC's) which he passed and then gave him a breathalyzer test that said he was at .089. So he was arrested and put in the cruiser. The officer then asked my daughter to step out of the car. She did not have her do any of the other tests just gave her the breathalyzer. The breathalyzer unit errored 5 times before giving a reading higher than .05 (Neither my daughter or myself have been able to find out what the reading was and it was not placed on the bail forms or court forms). She was promptly arrested as well. In the cruiser the officer asked the driver if he knew his rights and had him sign a paper, but, she did not do this with my daughter or made her aware of any rights that she had.
It took approximately 25 minutes from the time of arrest to their arrival at the police station. At the station the driver was made to take the breathalyzer that the station uses. This time his number came up at .065 and so they did not charge him with DUI. They did not allow my daughter to take the same breathalyzer or any other tests. The arresting officer then pulled my daughter into a separate room and asked her multiple questions about her relationship with the driver (they've been dating for months and friends for almost 3 years), if he had threatened her, assaulted her or slipped her roofies etc.
When my daughter asked if she could use the bathroom a male officer (even though the female officer was still present in the next room) made her do so with the door open and him standing there while she used the toilet. At this point she had an anxiety attack and asked if she could get her medication from her bag. The officer never questioned what the medication was or what the various other prescription bottles that she pulled out were or if she had any medical issues that they should be aware of. He just made an offhand comment about her being on a lot of meds for her age and handed her a cup of water.
When I finally arrived at the station I had to call the state police dispatcher just to get someone to come open the station door because no one would answer the intercom. When I was allowed into the station the officer made me sit in a room with no lights on for over 10 minutes until my daughter was brought out.
In the parking lot I used a flashlight to check my daughters eyes and they were not glassy nor did they do the little alcohol jerk. She did not smell of alcohol, her speech was normal and she showed no outward signs of being intoxicated.
Now my daughter has a lot of intestinal issues. She has been seeing a specialist for years for them and is on multiple medications for GERD, acid reflux and intestinal spasms. She is also on medication for anxiety and panic disorder. If she drinks anything acidic it causes her visible physical pain (she's even been hospitalized because of this). And with the other medications she is on she would have been walking around like a zombie if she had mixed them with alcohol.
I know I've rambled on quite a bit here. I strongly feel that she was wrongfully arrested and that her rights were violated. Any thoughts or advice on this situation would be more then welcome as I am pretty much at my wits end at trying to find help.
1 Answer from Attorneys
It would likely be a waste of time and money to pursue any potential claims of "wrongful arrest" or for violation of her rights. If you would like to hire representation for criminal defense, however, that would be wise. Please feel free to call our office for a free consultation. Ask to speak with Atty. Keith Mathews. If you email me, you may even be able to reach him on the weekend, depending on the day.