2.19.2010

ORDER IN THE COURT!

I think most people who know me are already aware of this, but last night I was arrested for a dui.
Let me recap.
Marissa and I were driving from Olympia to Seattle for a doctors appointment when I was pulled over for having expired registration. The officer Asked if I was on any medication and I told him what I took. Later he had me step out of the car and gave me a sobriety test. Walk a straight line, follow his pen, count 30 seconds in my head, things like that.


I was fairly nervous but felt I did an adequate job. I later found out that I 'messed up' about 4 times on his sobriety test. While walking in a straight line my feet kind of got tangled up and while trying to count to 30 in my head it took me 40 seconds.

He told me to stand behind my car while he went back to his car. I was assuming I would, at most, get a ticket for the expired registration then I would be on my way. However, I was totally surprised when he returned from his car and informed me I was being arrested for a dui. I asked him what he thought I was on and he said he had reason to believe I was on Marijuana.

I suppose that in one sense I was arrested for having clumsy feet and not being very good at estimating 30 seconds.

He put me in his car and went speak with Marissa. Come to find out, he won't let her drive the car because she is also currently taking a prescription medication (which if anything would be stimulating, not sedating at all) and felt she was too impaired to drive. She had to call a friend to come pick up her and the car. Ironically, the highway hazard management fellow that came to assist Marissa told her he also takes the same medication she does and was surprised an officer would mind. If I were to speculate I would imagine 10-20% of the police force take the same or a very similar medication.

Riding in the back of a police car is very uncomfortable. The seats are made of hard plastic and leg room is at a minimum. It is almost impossible to find a comfortable sitting position against a hard surface when your hands are behind your back. Fortunately they have a sort of hole in the seat for one to put their elbow in, allowing slightly more comfortable seating.

While driving to the booking station I was somewhat in shock. My biggest concern was about missing my doctors appointment. That day I had taken the last of my medication and my appointment was so I could get a refill. Fortunately I have a friend who takes the same medication as I, so I was able to get some from him and am not in withdrawal. I was also very worried about Marissa who I knew must be very worried.

Once we get to the police station, which was not a jail, but had holding rooms, I was given a choice if I wanted to take a drug test the officer would administer. Their was no punishment for not taking the test.
On one hand, I knew a test performed by a doctor would show I was not high on anything and could clear my name, however, I was concerned about taking a test administered by a police officer, since it was he who had already mistakenly believed I was on something. If I did not take the officer's test I would then be taken to the hospital to have my blood drawn and tested. If I refused that my license would be suspended for one year.

I explained my thinking to the officer and he informed me I could speak to a lawyer. I told him I would like to so he called one on the phone for me. She was very nice and advised me not to take the officer administered test but that I should take the blood test.

I told this to the officer. He then took me to the hospital, had my blood drawn and released me.

All in all, things turned out okay. I'm not sure what will happen next. I'm certain my blood results will come back negative, but I don't know if I will still have to appear in court.

I have been arrested before. That time I had an unpaid ticket. After the unpaid ticket arrest, I felt fine. But this time I feel surprisingly shaken up. I think it is because, unlike before I didn't do anything wrong. Whereas before, I felt comfortable that once my ticket was taken care of, I was no longer at any risk of being arrested again, but now I don't have that same comfort. Now, even if I am totally sober, I can still be arrested. Some part me almost feels reluctant to leave the house, though I imagine this will fade with time.

I realize what happened to me was all that bad. I do plan on filing a complain against the officer. I felt he used poor judgment in arresting me. I realize he must have felt he was just doing his job, but he was doing it very poorly and in doing so wasted my time, his time, tax dollars, and in general, he needlessly created a threatening and degrading circumstance towards Marissa and myself. In addition I believe he showed prejudice towards me because of my appearance. I realize it isn't like I am a black guy who is constantly being harassed by police, but it is still kind of a bummer.
I think their is a good chance Barack Obama will be inviting me and the arresting officer over to the White House for beers.

1 comment:

Cooliosaurus said...

chris, are you mad that for no good reason i'm on the police officer's side?