A prime example of this occurred in the Phoenix suburb of Surprise, Arizona recently. Around 11pm, a retired 64-year old firefighter was driving home from a health club where he had been working out in the pool. He was pulled over by Surprise Police for allegedly crossing a white lane line. The officers accused him of drinking because they saw the man's bloodshot eyes, but the driver informed them that he had just been swimming. The policemen requested a field sobriety test, and the man complied but stated that he was having hip surgery two days later (which he did).
Nevertheless, the officers handcuffed the 64-year old and placed him under arrest on suspicion of DUI. But when he was eventually tested for alcohol in his blood, the tests removed all doubt: the man's breathalyzer test results revealed a .000. The DUI charges against the man were dropped, and he is now suing the Surprise Police Department.
Here's the problem: Arizona, like Washington and most other states, only requires that police officers suspect that a driver is "impaired" before placing him or her under arrest. And given that the 64-year old man had red eyes, did not perform adequately on a field sobriety test, and was observed allegedly crossing a white line with his car at night when drunk driving is common, it will be difficult for the man to prove that the officers were outside of their rights in arresting him for DUI. As a result, the man may not be able to seek relief for the costs involved with getting his car out of the police impound lot and reinstituting his suspended driver's license - not to mention any damages to his reputation. All because he went swimming at night.