Question: I've never gotten a DUI in my life, ever. But that changed Friday night in Sandy Springs when I got pulled over by a cop and arrested for drunk driving. I was driving home from Buckhead, where I met two friends from out of town who I knew at Georgia Tech when we went there. We had dinner, went to a couple of clubs, and then we went home, nothing too stupid or juvenile.
But I drove home and I got stopped by a Sandy Springs police officer. And I was close to my house, like under a mile or two.
The cop said I was speeding, which I was, I think, but I wasn't really going that fast. He said I was like 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, which I think isn't true. And pretty much the second the cop stopped me he thought I was some type of criminal, I could tell. He was kind of mean and kept asking me how much I had to drink. At first I said nothing, but finally I admitted to a few beers, a mixed drink, and some shots.
I think he could smell alcohol because I spilled some on myself at dinner. And at a club we went to one of my buddies spilled a drink on my shoes because he was intoxicated, far more than me. The cop said I smelled like a brewery and made fun of my cologne, which he called cheap.
I was trying to be nice and not combative and I think the policeman said he wouldn't arrest me if I cooperated. I did cooperate and I walked the line and all and I did the breath test on the road but he arrested me after all. You're a Sandy Springs DUI lawyer and I need some help and I want to know why the cop was mean and lied.
N.F. in Milton, GA
Answer: It's quite common for people to feel a cop was mean to them and was dishonest in some way, particularly when the interaction ends with an arrest. Most police officers, in our experience, are well-trained and professional, but like all professions and careers, there are exceptions.
Commenting on your choice of cologne is not the most professional statement. Perhaps, however, the police officer was trying to get you to talk so he could determine if you were slurring your speech and if your breath smelled of alcohol. That's a common law enforcement trick, and it's legal.
The police can, however, lie. Generally, that's not illegal. It sounds like the video of your stop and arrest is going to be particularly important so that your interaction with the officer can be analyzed to see if any legal lines were crossed.