Unites States Senator Mike Crapo, a Republican from the state of Idaho, is the latest noteworthy public official to be arrested and charged with drunk driving. Senator Crapo was allegedly cited for running a red light in Alexandria Virginia. The arresting officer stated that the senator failed several field sobriety tests with a blood alcohol content of .11.
Senator Crapo has been more prominently featured in political circles recently as being among the “Gang of Eight,” a needed bipartisan group of both democratic and republican senators demonstrating the maturity of working together in an effort to head off the dreaded “fiscal cliff” that can befall the economy by years end without needed bipartisan action.
I do not know much about any prior social crusades on the part of this particular senator. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, such public officials corresponding punishment of an altered reputation broadcast by the self interest of news reporters within the print media, internet, radio and television, is in most instances excessive and counter to the national interest.
With experience of the legal process, one can learn from a review of my Indiana dui defense website that initial reports of an arrest are not always the credible summary of reported events that may initially appear.
In Senator Crapo’s case we simply do not know much as to the credibility of the arrest nor the reliability of alleged field sobriety testing performed in conjunction with breath test results. As a defense attorney for many years I cannot help but harken back to the countless number of traffic stops that would have never achieved such notoriety when a .10 bac content was the presumed level of intoxication in this country. In the senator’s case, it is entirely possible that the evidence could have determined an actual lesser bac content at the time observed such that this seemingly productive public servant could be back at work focused on the needed economic challenges facing our nation as opposed to a potential glorified traffic stop.
Although no legal excuse for criminal conduct, it is not uncommon for individuals from more rural states such as Idaho, to be more accustomed to more liberal law enforcement policies when it comes to traffic violations; particularly in regard to the enforcement of speeding or traffic stops. Where encounters with other vehicles on roadways can be rare for those in rural or plains states where large barren distances are prevalent, customary driving activity can often be divergent from that of one more accustomed to urban travel.
Despite what I would have advised, Senator Crapo has already provided indications to the media that he has accepted, “total responsibility,” for his conduct; for what conduct we are not clear. However, provided that his defense attorney has sufficiently reviewed the validity of the arrest against him to substantiate a drunk driving conviction, let us be hesitant to destroy the efforts of those working for causes greater then themselves.
Assuming that Senator Crapo’s prior causes have not been focused upon the excessive punishment of those accused of dui or traffic related offenses, all mitigating evidence needs to be put forth on behalf of those making an isolated mistake in judgement.