A 25-year-old woman on a Saturday involved in a car crash was lawfully arrested under a statute that allows for an arrest by the officer without a warrant, a law that gives 11 exceptions against the general constitutional right to be free from arrest without a warrant.
By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7 FM
Involvement in an automobile crash with injuries and allegations of driving under the influence is one of the four exceptions involving roadway encounters with police,
Megan Wilson, was involved in a severe crash on U.S. 27 after which a person was sent to the hospital with serious injuries. According to reports, Miss Wilson rear-ended a car, which veered off the highway as the autos were traveling south near the Thrasher Pike exit.
Authorities closed four lanes, going two ways, for hours, in a heroic response to the accident.
The statute under which Miss Wilson was arrested on the spot is Tenn. Code Ann. 40-7-103, grounds for arrest by officer without a warrant. It is routinely ignored, with approval of the courts, particularly the first provision that has been deconstructed to allow police to arrest a person for any offense on the spot without a warrant.
(a) An officer may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(1) For a public offense committed or a breach of the peace threatened in the officer’s presence;
The violation of the law by officers because the term “public offense” is interpreted to mean “any offense.” The practice is defended by chief magistrate Lorrie Miller in an interview on the David Tulis show at 92.7 FM. The so-called case law, however, shows no evidence that the courts have in their opinions have changed the term public offense to mean any crime. A public offense is a type of offense that equates to “breach of the peace” in the same provision. “Driving with a revoked license” requires a warrant, but, as the statute specifies, a crash involving a DUI does not.
Hence Miss Wilson’s arrest on the spot.
Source: Mark Pace, “Woman arrested following DUI crash on U.S. 27,” Times Free Press, Sept. 22, 2019. https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2019/sep/22/woman-arrested-following-dui-crash-us-27/504150/
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