A woman who was at one time a captain with the Michigan State University Police has been charged with OWI after an incident which happened several weeks ago. Immediately after the incident, the woman was reportedly placed on paid leave from the force. She had returned to work in September 2020, after a year of paid leave that was seemingly unrelated to this incident.
Michigan State Police indicated that one of their officers stopped the woman while she was driving on an interstate highway. They alleged that the woman failed a field sobriety test. While she would not take a portable breath test at the scene, she ultimately tested .25 blood alcohol content. Police also say the woman was combative during the stop and her subsequent arrest.
Authorities have charged the woman with OWI; the charge is aggravated because of her alleged blood alcohol content. Assuming she has a clean criminal record, she still faces the possibility of jail, significant fines and a license suspension. She also faces a charge of carrying a concealed weapon with a BAC of .10 or more, which is a separate criminal offense in Michigan. The Michigan Attorney General is pursuing the case against this law enforcement officer.
OWI charges can have serious professional repercussions
In addition to the criminal penalties, this woman also faces some significant professional consequences as well. She is a police officer by trade, so having a criminal conviction, including one for OWI, could make it very hard for her to find work in law enforcement. Even if she could, it would be unlikely for her to be able to get a leadership role.
Many people in the greater Detroit area might not fully appreciate how far-reaching the consequences for a drunk driving conviction can be. Those in licensed professions, like lawyers, doctors, teachers and others, may have action taken against them even for an off-the-clock drunk driving charge. Likewise, people who drive for a living may not be able to continue to work after even one OWI. People who feel a drunk driving charge might affect their careers should evaluate their legal options carefully.