Criminal Law, News Media

Alcohol No Longer Required For A DUI Arrest, Only Bloodshot Eyes And A Dark Complexion

DRIVING-WHILE-BLACK-e1333508527306Despite passing a series of field sobriety tests, taking a breathalyzer test which showed a blood alcohol level of 0.000, and having a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officer state that there were no signs of impairment or signs of any drugs, Jessie Thornton, a 64 year old retired firefighter, was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Surprise, Arizona on Friday night.  He was detained for several hours, forced through a battery of tests, had his car impounded, and the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division had been notified so that proceedings could be started to suspend his license.

The reason for the arrest, you ask?  Well, Mr. Thornton had just left his local fitness center where he had been swimming in an effort to loosen up his ailing hip which was scheduled to be surgically replaced less than a week later.  As a result of his time in the pool, his eyes were bloodshot.  While bloodshot eyes are one visual indicator of intoxication, which can potentially provide probable cause to give a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer, the look of your eyes is not proof of intoxication at any level.  If so, as a life long allergy sufferer, I should have had my license revoked for chronic alcoholism long ago.

Mr. Thornton’s attorney provides a different reason for the arrest:  Driving While Black.  According to reports, Mr. Thornton has been pulled over at least 10 times in his own community and has received 4 separate tickets.

In the aftermath of this arrest and media attention, the charges have been dropped.  Mr. Thornton and his attorney are now in the process of filing a discrimination lawsuit against the City of Surprise for $500,000.



About jimcorleylaw

Maryland Attorney, focusing on Criminal Defense and Personal Injury cases. Centrally located in Baltimore County, near Towson.



  1. Pingback: Sober man arrested for DUI « Musings of the Angry Webmaster - June 14, 2013

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