The standard, after all, is reasonable doubt

When the police arrest a driver and charge them with a DUI, the unstated premise that many people accept is that they must be guilty. After all, they were arrested and the police would not arrest someone who is not guilty? Right? Sadly, this is not always the case.

Sometimes the police make mistakes. Sometimes an officer maybe pushing questionable cases in an effort to improve his or her numbers, as they strive to obtain recognition or advancement within the department. Sometimes they may be uncertain, but think it is better to make an illegal arrest than to let a potentially impaired driver go on their way.


Whatever the reason, the obligation nonetheless of the prosecution is see that justice is done. What is clear from the record of many cases of DUI and other crimes in Tennessee and around the country is that prosecutors often become so wrapped up in winning, that justice sometimes is misplaced.

In a case from Louisville, where the prosecution lost, the prosecutor claims DUI cases should be tried by juries and not by judges because the conviction rates for juries is higher than it is for judges. Let’s consider why this might be.

For one, judges observe the actions of police and prosecutors all day. They also tend to be well trained in the law and they may be somewhat more skeptical of police behavior, in general. A jury at times might be swayed by the impressive figure of a police officer or Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper in their uniform, a judge less so.

As the man’s attorney noted, the prosecution always believes those they charge are guilty. If not, they could be guilty themselves of misconduct, but that does not change the fact that they could be wrong.

Source:, “Should juries, not judges, hear DUI trials?” Andrew Wolfson, October 11, 2015

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