Police officer acquitted on DUI charges

Some DUI incidents are unusual. Such a case occurred last winter in Kingsport, Tennessee, when one of the city’s police officers was involved in some type of “incident,” which apparently involved his vehicle crashing into other vehicles or objects such as guardrails or other fixed objects.

Because the crash occurred within the city limits, the local police, who would typically have jurisdiction over such incidents, called in the Tennessee Highway Patrol to investigate the matter to avoid a potential conflict of interest. The officer had been off-duty when the crash occurred, but no charges were filed at the time of the incident and he was not arrested.


Eventually, a grand jury returned an indictment with a DUI charge, a reckless driving charge and failure to exercise due care charge. However, the “presentment” did not include actual details of the incident, so it is difficult to determine what happened on that night back in February.

A jury acquitted him last week on the DUI and reckless endangerment charges but found him guilty on the failure to exercise due care count of the indictment. The guilty charge was a Class C misdemeanor and he only received a $50 fine. The news report also noted he had been reinstated with the city police.

Any time a police officer is charged with a DUI, eyebrows are raised, given his or her function in making such arrests. While a jury has found him not guilty in this case, some elements of the charging process and the lack of detail surrounding the apparent crash do seem puzzling.

But it serves as a reminder that being charged with DUI is not the same thing as a conviction.

Source:, “Kingsport police officer charged with DUI found not guilty,” September 18, 2015

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