Cops are humans too, so one can assume that they are vulnerable to the same problems everyone else has; not to mention, they have a pretty stress-filled career a lot of times. Believe it or not, cops drink too! Yes, cops drink beer, wine, and all sorts of hard alcohol – don’t fool yourselves, they really do. All cops don’t necessarily drink alcohol, but it’s certainly a custom of sorts in our society that some law enforcement officers turn to alcohol for a variety of reasons, whether it a glass of wine with dinner, a toast at a wedding, or a nightly cocktail or beer or several to relax and wind down. It’s legal for officers to drink, as long as they are not on the clock and don’t get behind the wheel of a car.
When law enforcement officers make the mistake of driving while drunk, and they get caught, they are just as guilty as any civilian charged for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), but do they receive the same sentences the rest of the public does when they get a DUI? Well, that’s debatable.
Cops Are People Too – Facts, Figures and Statists on Cops Drinking
In 2013, Bowling Green State University’s (BGSU) published a study on law enforcement officers who are charged and arrested for DUIs. Here are some of the findings of that report:
- The study analyzed data of 782 arrest cases of officers employed by 511 non-federal law enforcement agencies in the US.
- Studies from the 1970s to 1980s have found that as many as 25 percent of officers have serious drinking problems.
- One study found that an estimated 40 percent of surveyed police officers have used alcohol while on duty.
- Police DUIs have the potential to significantly weaken the public’s trust and legitimacy of law enforcement’s efforts to mitigate drunk driving.
- One study of 852 police officers revealed that nearly half or 48 percent of male officers and 40 percent of female officers reportedly consumed excessive alcohol and binge drank.
- One study concluded that “excessive alcohol consumption is often part of the police lifestyle.”
- A Bureau of Justice Statistics finding reports that more than one-third of responding state and local police departments would consider applicants with a prior DUI conviction.
- A majority of officers surveyed indicated that they would not report on a fellow officer who had a minor traffic incident while driving impaired.
- Media investigations in Denver, Milwaukee, and New York found several cases where officers who were pulled over and found to be intoxicated weren’t arrested or even punished in the least.
So, What Happens When Cops Get Arrest for DUIs?
There’s no doubt that even police officers get arrested for DUIs. While police officers in fact work in a brotherhood-like field that tries to act at times to protect their own against criminal proceedings, most of the times they do receive punishment, incarceration, and a record on their Driver’s License. The BGSU study showed a direct correlation between police officers who get off from DUI charges and punishments. However, the majority of officers stopped and arrested for DUI are convicted and punished. The following are some additional findings of what happens to officers who are arrested and convicted for DUIs:
- The chances or odds of an officer to their job following a DUI goes up by nearly 22 percent for those living in more rural areas.
- The larger the agency size, the odds of an officer being fired goes down by 8.5 percent.
- Officers working at larger law enforcement agencies are less likely to fire a police officer for DUI than a smaller agency.
- Job loss among police charge with DUIs that involved a traffic accident were more likely.
- Police unions at larger metropolitan law enforcement agencies are more likely to support and reinforce the police “code of silence” regarding a DUI arrest or charge of one of its officers.
- Police who get DUIs are much more conspicuous and harder to ignore in rural communities, so it’s more likely they’ll lose their jobs and be punished there.
Contact a Broomfield DUI Lawyers at The Datz Law Firm
Are you a police officer who’s been charged for a DUI? If so, the Broomfield DUI Lawyers at The Datz Law Firm are here to aggressively fight for your rights and see that justice is served. We can do a thorough job re-investigating the details of your case, so that if there were any errors or discrepancies we’ll fight to get frivolous and even criminal charges dropped, or reduced.
As former district attorneys, our Broomfield DUI lawyers are experts at presenting and arguing their cases, and we will represent you to the best of our abilities to see that you get the best outcome possible.
To discuss your legal options and begin building your case, call us at (720) 256-2404, or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.
We schedule free initial consultations at our Broomfield Office, but we also service clients throughout the entire state of Colorado.
1“Drink, Drive, Go to Jail? A Study of Police Officers Arrested for Drunk Driving” published in BGSU Criminal Justice Faculty Publications, June 2013.