September 2, 2011

Navy Commander From Birmingham Fired After DUI Arrest in New York

A Navy commander from Birmingham was recently charged with DUI in Albany, N.Y. and he has been fired, the Navy Times is reporting.

It's sad that the U.S. Navy would fire an experienced and valuable naval officer after an arrest, when he hasn't even been convicted. But many companies and public offices are the same way. People trust in police to be right and so they think that an arrest means the person is guilty. But that's simply not the case.
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DUI in Birmingham is a complex case and goes far beyond simply being pulled over. There are many different factors that go into DUI defense and an experienced Birmingham DUI Defense Attorney is able to bring up those points and successfully defend a client in many instances.

In the case of the 30-year Navy veteran, he was arrested August. 20 in Albany. The Navy said in a press release that he was fired because of a "loss of confidence in his ability to command." The Birmingham native enlisted in the Navy in 1981 and was a chief petty officer before he earned his commission as a limited duty officer in 1992.

The Navy released no other details about his arrest, other than he was cited by the Albany Police Department for driving under the influence.

What's sad about the situation is that his bosses have jumped to a conclusion with little proof. Being arrested for DUI doesn't mean the end of the world. It simply means the officer had an opinion based on observations that you may be drunk.

Even if a person is given a field sobriety test and "fails," according to the officer, those results can be refuted. If a person has balance problems that a doctor can testify to, that can explain why they didn't do well on the walk and turn and one-leg stand tests. If they have eye problems, having a bright flashlight right in their eyes while watching something go from side to side may not be possible.

The weather and road conditions can also explain why someone may fail a field sobriety test. Having to walk in wet or unstable gravel can be difficult and can cause someone to slip. If the officer isn't paying attention as well as he or she should, details about loose gravel could be missed, leading the officer to deem the person as failing the test, when it's not their fault.

The weather is also a factor. If the roads are wet, it can be difficult to walk on them anyway, especially if a driver is wearing heels or shoes with slick bottoms. So, a person can slip and the officer can use that as an excuse to cite them for DUI.

But the officer's dash video can actually help a defendant in this situation. In most police cruisers, when the lights are activated, the video on the dashboard starts automatically recording. If a person is pulled over, the lights usually stay on so that other drivers slow down and get out of the way. But the video can be used to refute what the officer's observations were, especially if there are witnesses in the vehicle with the driver who can also dispute what the officer says.

More Blog Entries:

Cullman Hospital CEO Charged With DUI: August 24, 2011

Huntsville Football Coach Charged With DUI: August 20, 2011

Additional Resources:

Naval Support Activity CO fired after arrest, by William H. McMichael, Navy Times