Society perceives that officers who break the law are given a pass due to their positions as law enforcement officers. Some argue that even when criminal charges must be brought against an officer, the system stretches to give the least painful punishment available. However, these perceptions might not be accurate. In some cases, officers are held to a higher level of culpability due to their positions of trust in society and therefore are given much harsher sentences.
Recently an officer made the terrible decision to drink and drive. Fortunately, the vehicle struck and inanimate object and no one was injured. Story here. This officer will be charged with felony criminal damage and will be fortunate to work out a plea arrangement that ends up in a misdemeanor conviction. Just like any other defendant in a criminal case, this officer’s attorney will argue that although what he did was wrong and potentially life threatening to himself and others, he was going through a tremendously difficult year with parents dying and divorce looming. These life circumstances are not excuses and certainly don’t justify the behavior, however, just as in other cases, the prosecutor and court will consider those factors and others in determining how this case will be negotiated and sentenced. This type of behavior seems very much out of the ordinary for this officer’s life.