Recently a colleague told me about a family member who was under suspicion for committing a serious felony. The initial report of the facts and circumstances seemed dire. Even as a Georgia DUI Defense Attorney , I found myself doubting the innocence of the person who called.
The interesting thing here for all of us is that it is very easy to jump to conclusions based on very few facts. I have previously written about how police officers almost instantly come to the conclusion that someone is driving under the influence of alcohol. I have written that this decision seems to occur almost at the moment they first speak to a driver. In fact, there appears to be almost nothing a potential DUI driver can do once a police officer suspects that he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
From that point forward, the entire investigation exists to confirm what the police officer already suspected. Instead of listening to explanations such as a person being tired or unfamiliar with the roadway or having some health or emotional issue, most police officers instead go right to the conclusion of impairment. This is how innocent people are arrested for driving under the influence.
After all my discussions about police officers falsely charging people with a DUI, I was essentially jumping to the same conclusions many police officers do. I was skeptical of the person who was being questioned regarding a serious felony offense. This should be a great reminder for anyone that we all are subject to prejudgment and misjudgment of people, both in our personal and professional lives.
I know for me, this was a great reminder of my need to be fair to others and a further understanding why sometimes police officers are not. If we all lived by the words, innocent until proven guilty, there would be a lot less misjudgment and more understanding for those who are accused of committing a crime but have been proven guilty.
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