Seattle, WA- Two Seattle officers have been formally charged with misdemeanor DUI following an incident in December, according to The Seattle Times.
Officers Marie Gochnour and Sean Moore were off-duty when they were arrested. According to the initial police report a woman called 911 after the saw a woman in a Nissan Altima smash into a light pole on 1st South Ave. The witness then said she saw the woman get out of the car and switch seats with the male passenger, who then drove off.
Once officers arrived in the vicinity and located the vehicle they notice the vehicle has sustained significant damage to the front end, it was also parked a few feet from the curb with the engine running, as DUI Attorneys Now previously reported.
The responding officers immediately recognized the two occupants and noted that the Nissan smelled strongly of alcohol.
When the officer asked Moore is he should be driving he replied “Probably not,” and said he was not aware of the previous crash. His blood alcohol level was .016, twice Seattle’s limit of .08. While Moore was more compliant with officers, Gochnour wasn’t.
Once Gochnour, who is a veteran patrol officer, was questioned by police she became belligerent. The officer’s report stated she had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Her blood alcohol was .234.
The Times reported that while Gochnour was being tested for her blood alcohol level she became combative and gave one officer the middle finger. She began cursing the arresting officer calling him by a number of expletives including ones that refer to make genitalia and also lunged at him on two occasions. Amid her belligerence she would also frequently sob.
Moore’s and Gochnour’s cases were forwarded to the City Attorney’s office who decided this week to charge the officers with misdemeanor DUI. They were able to avoid charges of hit-and-run thus far, but traffic is still investigating that incident; it’s possible they will not be charged with that offense.
Both were put on desk duty while the department began an internal investigation. That investigation has been suspended until the criminal charges can be resolved.
The Seattle Times did not state whether the officers will remain in desk duty or returned to original posts. Though we typically hold police officers up to a different standard, a first DUI doesn’t generally result in their dismissal.
Some police departments are tougher on officers who are caught drinking in driving. There are agencies that have a not tolerance policy while others keep officers keep officers even if they have multiple DUIs. That discretion is up to the Chief of each force and many recognize that one DUI may be a mistake; intoxicated people are often incapable of making sound decisions.
In civilian workforce, it you have a job that requires you drive it is likely that you could be demoted or fired. If you have one of more DUIs it’s important to retain a DUI attorney to help them with their case.