Question: When I was arrested for DUI I was driving home from a night out with my girlfriend and we had just seen the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey.” We were dressed in BDSM clothing. Really it was just a lot of leather and my girlfriend was wearing a mask with spikes on it. We were carrying handcuffs and blindfolds. We're both into the bondage seen here in Atlanta and we thought a night out and a movie would be fun.
We were driving near Piedmont Park when we got stopped. The Atlanta cop seemed pretty freaked out when he pulled me over. We did have some fetish stuff in car along with some lubricants, chains, crops and whips.
I had been drinking with dinner. I started with some tequila and gin, and then moved to whiskey. I was buzzed. I got out of the car and did everything the policeman asked me to do.
I could tell from the beginning that the cop thought I was some kind of very weird person. When we were stopped he asked me how many drinks I had. Then he asked me if I was a drug user. I think the cop didn't like how I was dressed. It's not fair the police would jump to conclusions.
Would any of this help my defense for DUI?
E.C. in Atlanta
Answer: People certainly do have biases based upon attire. That sort of prejudgment has been proven to infiltrate all areas of our daily life. People do draw conclusions based on what an individual is wearing without even speaking to them.
The Atlanta police officer will have to demonstrate probable cause for the stop of your vehicle and the subsequent arrest for DUI. He cannot just say that it was based upon your style of dress.
As for how it might impact a jury that remains to be seen. Most jurors will decide a DUI case based upon the evidence presented. Of course, some jurors might be swayed (either pro or con) because you were wearing bondage-related clothing.
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