Discrepancies in police reports recently led to the dismissal of charges of driving while impaired that had been filed against a woman in Brunswick County, North Carolina. The charges apparently arose after the woman encountered a police officer outside the Sunset Beach Police Department.
The officer later testified in court concerning the allegations. The DWI defense lawyer handling the case noted discrepancies between the officer’s testimony and what was written in typed police reports concerning the allegations.
Authorities had accused the woman of driving to the police station while impaired last May. However, her son says that she was standing outside the station speaking with officers when the arresting officer drove up to the station and arrested the mother for DWI—that is while standing and talking with other officers.
The officer later testified in court that he approached the woman in her car and spoke to her while she sat in the vehicle. The police reports apparently showed discrepancies with that testimony. The DWI case was appealed the district court proceeding for a trial before a jury in Superior Court.
Ultimately, the DWI charges were dismissed. The arrested Sunset Beach Police officer was suspended after police brass met with the DA’s office. The police chief announced the suspension after the meeting—authorities determined that an ethical issue may have been involved in the odd testimony.
DWI charges can carry harsh consequences. But allegations that a driver was impaired behind the wheel are merely allegations. A person accused of DWI has the right to challenge the charges in court. The state is not entitled to a conviction without proof beyond a reasonable doubt on all the elements of a crime.
Source: WECT, “Conflicting reports surround investigation into Sunset Beach Police officer.” April 30, 2013 WWAY, “Defense attorney says issue that led to officer’s suspension something he’s never seen,” Brandon Taylor, April 29, 2013