The Tampa police are extremely tough when it comes to looking for drivers that may potentially be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are many defenses to a DUI charge but a recent arrest of a Tampa police officer brought a very sad reality to life—the potential for police to falsify the facts of a DUI case. The My Fox Tampa Bay reports that Florida Highway Patrol trooper Scott Kuntsman was recently arrested for making false DUI reports.
In addition to being fired from his job, Kuntsman is also facing some serious legal charges against him for making the false reports—perjury and official misconduct, both of which are felonies. My Fox Tampa Bay quotes attorney Andrew Flynn Morgenson “We are fortunate in this day and age that there is frequently a video camera rolling. When I saw the video, it went off like a light bulb—they’re lying.”
Kuntsman’s ultimate undoing came at the very thing he should have been aware of—the presence of police cameras in his own patrol vehicle. With inconsistent video evidence in many of his DUI cases, the police began to investigate the issue. Kuntsman had worked as a local highway patrol officer for five years.
Police video of roadside interrogations dealing with DUI’s in Tampa often serves as an important piece of evidence for both sides of every Tampa DUI case. Drivers should be aware that this documentation is taking place anytime he or she is pulled over and it sounds like highway patrol officers could use a little refresher as well. What this video typically records is the initial police contact, which can include:
- DUI Traffic Stop: When police suspect that a driver may be intoxicated or on drugs (i.e. swerving, driving too fast or too slow and other signs of impairment) the officer will pull the driver over to confirm his or her suspicions.
- Field Sobriety Test: Following the stop and initial questioning by the police officer, he or she will likely ask the driver to take a series of basic field sobriety tests that, theoretically, a sober individual should pass with ease. This may include walking in a straight line, reciting the alphabet, etc. In some of the video evidence that led to the arrest of Kuntsman, the police found individuals easily accomplishing the commands of the field sobriety test but Kuntsman reporting absolute failures.
- Breath Test: The police may also initiate a more sophisticated form of DUI testing via a breath test once he or she is arrested for driving under the influence. In Tampa DUI cases, the police use the Intoxilyzer 8000 to determine the BAC level of the driver.
At some point before the arrest, the police are also required to read a driver his or her Miranda Rights. In the case of Kuntsman, some or all of the steps involved in the initial police contact were seriously violated.
If you have recently been charged with a DUI in Tampa, then it is in your best interest to get in touch with an attorney. At the Law offices of Finebloom & Haenel P.A., we have represented hundreds of clients in your exact situation. We also know that there can be inconsistencies in what the police report claims and how you remember the initial police contact. Give us a call today for a free consultation.