False Positives Lead to Real Arrests

Posted by Richard Lawson | Sep 08, 2017 | 0 Comments

Though law enforcement officers in Georgia are trained to tell when a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, sometimes they can make mistakes. One such instance occurred this past May when a Georgia police officer stopped a woman and thought she was under the influence of marijuana.

11Alive News reported on the story of Katelyn Ebner who was pulled over by Cobb County police officer T.T. Carroll, who is one of the department's drug recognition experts. Ebner was on her way home from work and was stopped because she had crossed over the center line. While she may not have been driving the best, she was sober. Officer Carroll had Ebner do tests to see if she was drunk and those came back negative. However, Officer Carroll claimed that he had seen signs that Ebner was under the influence of marijuana and arrested her. Ebner denied having smoked anything, but as there isn't a quick breathalyzer-type test for marijuana, she couldn't prove she was telling the truth. Ebner was taken to jail and had to spend the night behind bars.

She took a blood test, but the results didn't come in for several months. When they did come back, they showed that she was not under the influence of any substance and her charges were dismissed. She was not the only person this happened to either; 11Alive reported that at least two other people were suspected of being under the influence of marijuana by Officer Carroll. In both of these cases, he was also wrong even though he is certified as a drug recognition expert. According to 11Alive, “the standard protocol requires 12 steps to be completed.” However, officers “can make a DUI-drug arrest on fewer observations.” Ebner filed a complaint with Internal Affairs (IA) against Officer Carroll. She was told when she spoke with IA that “test results come back wrong all the time." But the department told 11Alive that the “drug recognition expert is better at detecting marijuana in a driver than scientific tests.”

And it's not only the officers who make errors. The scientific tests given can also provide inaccurate results, as they were in the case of Meghan Caldwell. She was originally charged with homicide and DUI after a crash in March 2016 that killed two people. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “[a] breathalyzer test at the time of the crash registered Caldwell positive for alcohol.” However, the test was wrong as the lab results later showed she did not have alcohol in her system. Because of this, her charges were reduced to misdemeanors in April 2017.

As these cases demonstrate, sometimes those who are arrested for driving under the influence are not intoxicated at all. If you have been arrested for DUI in Cherokee County, contact Cherokee County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson today. Richard Lawson has over twenty years experience as a criminal defense attorney and has dedicated his career to defending those who have been accused of driving under the influence. Contact his office today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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