On-Duty Officer Arrested for "Super Extreme DUI"

Surely a police officer could stoop lower than this, but I can’t think of how at the moment. Sgt. John McGrath, 27, of the University of Arizona Police Department was arrested and charged Saturday evening with a “Super Extreme DUI,” which, under Arizona law means, the driver had a .20 BAC or higher. This isn’t the first time we’ve reported on a police officer arrested for a DWI/DUI, but what makes this story different is that Sgt. McGrath was on-duty in his marked police vehicle when he crashed into a wall. No one was injured and no other vehicles were involved.

A few things come to mind from this story. First, police officers make mistakes too, and one shouldn’t rush to condemn Sgt. McGrath as a bad person simply because he made this mistake. Second, police officers are fallible. Often times, DWI/DUI cases center around the credibility of the officer’s testimony. If the jury believes the officer, they are likely to convict. If the officer seems incompetent for whatever reason, they are likely to acquit.

Before making it onto a jury potential jurors are screened to see if they have potential biases, for or against, police officers generally. I’ve heard a nurse say that she works with police officers everyday and trusts them her life. Potential jurors might have police officers in their family. On the flip side, someone who has been charged with a DWI before and feels they were treated unfairly will likely hold a grudge against police officers in general. Any of these people likely hold a bias that would affect their ability to serve as an objective juror. A jury process works best when all 12 (or 6 in a misdemeanor case) walk into the jury booth without any pre-conceived notions.

There is one big positive to take from this story. It doesn’t appear that Sgt. McGrath is being cut any breaks for his job. If anything, they are cracking down harder on him. In addition to being charged with a Super Extreme DUI, he is also being charged with four other DUI counts, failure to control speed, and a misdemeanor count of criminal damage. (Not sure why Arizona law allows someone to be charged with four separate DUI counts). Sgt. McGrath is on investigative suspension and probably won’t be behind the wheel of a police vehicle anytime soon.

I’d me amiss to not mention that Sgt. McGrath served in the Arizona Army National Guard and recently completed a tour in Afghanistan. It wouldn’t be fair to jump to any conclusions about his character from this one incident. But he now finds himself in the likely unfamiliar position of needing a great DWI attorney to help him out of this mess. If you find yourself in this predicament in Texas, give The Wilder Firm a call today at (214) 855-7737. You have to much to lose to go at it alone.

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