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Sue for compensation for false arrest and imprisonment while acting as Designated Driver

San Antonio, TX |

While acting as a designated driver using a borrowed vehicle I was stopped for an inop license plate lamp, I gave mil ID with DL. The officer returned to the passenger side of the vehicle where he claimed to smell alcohol and required a sobriety test. I was forced from the safety of my vehicle to perform a HGN test, after stated inconclusive results the walk turn test was demanded. I questioned the necessity of the test, stated I felt intimidated and feared a subjective test could show false positive which interrupted his instructions. I was arrested for 'hostility' and questioning continued after I was read miranda rights and I requested to speak with an attorney, I was incarcerated 26 hrs. Open comments showed anti military bias. Damages to reputation and future employment, rep fees

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Attorney answers 4


No. Sounds like a routine, justifiable stop and arrest on the facts you've posted. You do understand that police enjoy qualified immunity don't you? I don't see a case here.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.


Even though some police officers abuse their power, it is best not to push back. It is never a good idea to interrupt a police officer, it will just annoy him. Just do the test, walk the line ... blow. If you were the DD, he may have smelled the alcohol on your passenger, which gave him cause to investigate further. Do all the tests to show that you are not drunk and you'll be on your way much faster than getting argumentative.


You filed this under Criminal Defense and stated you were arrested, so I assume you have an active case pending for DWI. Before you focus on whether or not you can sue for "false arrest and imprisonment", I would advise you to get a criminal defense attorney to fight the DWI charge. Bexar County is known for their zero tolerance policy on DWIs and if they think there is any possible way a jury could even possibly find you guilty for the DWI (no matter how remote), they will refuse to dismiss it during pretrial. Thus, you will be forced to set it for trial most likely and that is a process that takes time. In my experience you can not assume that the DWI will just be dismissed in Bexar County even if the case is obvious. Plus you need to treat the DWI charge just as serious as if you had been drinking and driving because there are certain deadlines that if missed will hurt you in the long run (driver's license suspensions and ability to question the officer prior to trial, etc.). Feel free to contact me with additional questions.

This answer is for informational and educational use only. This answer does not create attorney-client relationship. For more details, I recommend a private consultation with a criminal defense attorney.


I would certainly recommend that you speak with a number of attorneys because different attorneys might see things differently but the governmental immunity that the police officers enjoy would make it either very difficult or impossible to win any sort of lawsuit.

If you are facing criminal charges, that would likely be a good focus of your energy.