At the beginning of this month, in preparation for the Super Bowl, police departments increased DUI enforcement across the country trying to decrease the number of DUI arrests. Unfortunately, that plan did not work out well for the University of Arizona Police Department (UAPD), as one of their on duty officers was taken into custody over the weekend. Sgt. John McGrath was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence Saturday night after being involved in an accident with a marked UAPD vehicle. Sgt. McGrath was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.20, which is classified as a Super Extreme DUI.
Officers arrived at the scene of the single motor vehicle accident and determined that there were no major injuries. The cost of the damage has not been determined, and the vehicle that McGrath was driving has been impounded. McGrath had been a sergeant for a little over a year and is also a member of the Arizona National Guard. He also recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Currently, McGrath has been placed on investigative suspension and will not work until the investigation has concluded.
There has been controversy surrounding this topic as to the possibility that Sgt. McGrath could have been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD, as many know, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening event. This disorder is common among military combat soldiers, where they relive traumatic experiences that can impact their daily lives.
Other opinions regarding this topic are that Sgt. McGrath should be tried and sentenced like any other civilian would be in a similar situation, if not harsher based on his profession and violation of public trust while operating a UAPD vehicle. Assuming this was Mr. McGrath's first Super Extreme DUI, the circumstance will be significantly worse compared to that of regular and extreme DUI's.
The consequences McGrath may face are substantial. Jail time for Super Extreme DUI's is a minimum of 45 consecutive days in jail, and fines and costs are a minimum of $3,200. As stated above, the marked police vehicle McGrath was driving was impounded and he stands to lose his license for a minimum of 90 days. Mandatory alcohol screenings and/or counseling is also required for those convicted of any DUI offense. Probation can last for up to five years. In addition, anyone convicted of Super Extreme DUI will be required to install an ignition interlock device for at least a year.
Here at the Rosenstein Law Group we believe that one bad decision should not ruin the rest of a person's life. That is why, with each case our attorneys defend, they do so with the drive and intent to make sure a client's rights are not taken advantage of.