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DUI cases questioned after Georgia officer admits falsifying evidence

Our Athens, Georgia, DUI law blog has discussed a variety of circumstances in which individuals have been arrested for drunk driving. Our blog has also discussed the numerous legal and social consequences individuals may face after being charged with DUI in the state of Georgia.

Although some students and other Georgia residents do make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after drinking too much, not all individuals accused of driving under the influence are guilty of the charges. In fact, hundreds of DUI cases are now in question in Georgia after a Richmond County deputy recently admitted to falsifying evidence in at least one case.

According to reports, the deputy had been assigned to a DUI task force in March 2009. Since then, he was involved with arresting between 250 and 400 people for a variety of offenses. Although it has not been determined how many cases involved individuals who were arrested for driving under the influence, there are at least 60 pending DUI cases in which the deputy was the arresting officer. These pending cases are now in question after the officer admitted last month that he falsified the results of an alcohol-detection device at least "once or twice" while serving on the task force.

The officer claims that he does not remember the specific cases in which he may have falsified readings after using the Alco-Sensor test. The Alco-Sensor is a hand-held device that is commonly used by officers to get a fairly accurate reading of a suspected drunk driver's blood alcohol concentration.

In Georgia, the results of Alco-Sensor tests are not admissible during trials. However, the results of the tests are oftentimes considered by judges when determining plea deals, sentences or the terms of one's probation.

Dozens of DUI cases are expected to be challenged in court after the officer admitted to falsifying evidence. Although he claimed that he only falsified readings in one or two cases, many now question the officer's credibility in other cases in which he arrested individuals for allegedly driving under the influence.

Source: The Augusta Chronicle, "DUI cases in jeopardy after Richmond County deputy admits falsifying readings," Bianca Cain and Sandy Hodson, Nov. 19, 2011