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Even the Former MADD President’s DUI Arrest Shows the Problems Inherent in DUI Investigations

Yes, she looks hammered. Yes, the former MADD President’s DUI arrest report shows that she allegedly had a breath-alcohol concentration approximately 3 times the legal limit. And, yes, she forgot one of my favorite sayings when undertook her former “occupation: “But for the grace of God, there go I.” However, a close look at the allegations of the arresting officer in her case reveals some of the silliness that many of my clients face in their DUI cases.

As I read the article, I noticed that the arresting officer alleged that Ms. Oberlin had “dilated” pupils. This may seem innocuous enough, but the problem with this allegation is that Ms. Oberlin is not alleged to be under the influence of any substance that would have caused her pupils to be dilated. Pretermitting the limitations of the officer in assessing pupil size on the side of the road and the various external conditions (other than alcohol or drugs that may cause a change in pupil size, let’s evaluate whether alcohol would be expected to cause pupil dilation. Alcohol is a CNS depressant. Drug Recognition Expert training materials tell us that this observation by the officer simply does not make sense.

The rest of the case against Ms. Oberlin may be solid, but this statement by the arresting officer just doesn’t hold water based on the information that has been disclosed.

Debra Oberlin, a former president of a defunct chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was arrested recently by the Gainesville, Fla. police – for drunk driving, according to the Gainesville Sun.

Maybe that’s why she’s a “former” president?

Oberlin, who’s 48, was arrested after she had difficulty on a field sobriety test, according to the Sun. She registered a .234 and .239 on breath alcohol tests, nearly three times Florida’s legal limit for driving.

On Feb. 18 at 1:10 a.m., an officer spotted Oberlin driving erratically, swerving and crossing lanes, an arrest report states. She was pulled over, and the officer reported that Oberlin smelled of alcohol and had watery, bloodshot and dilated eyes. The report also states that Oberlin told the officer she had four beers, according to the newspaper.

The Sun says Gainesville’s chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving existed for several years in the 1990s before closing in 1996 because of a lack of financial support. Oberlin was the chapter president for three years.

Maybe that’s why it’s defunct? 



About the Author

Ben Sessions, Attorney at Sessions Law Group
Ben Sessions

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