Being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol can impact a person's career, perhaps even end it. This is just one of the pitfalls of being arrested for DUI in Alabama. As a Birmingham drunk driving defense attorney, I have seen what happens to people arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. Even if one is not found guilty, the stigma of a DUI arrest can haunt a person years after the original episode.
Recently, the mayor of Union Springs, AL, was arrested for DUI not far from his home in Bullock County. Although he denied doing anything wrong, John McGowan was taken into custody in late December and charged with driving while intoxicated. The event took place around 2:30am on a Saturday morning while the mayor was attempting to assist his step-daughter who had herself been pulled over earlier for driving without her headlights turned on.
According to news reports, the mayor allegedly tried to persuade the Union Springs police officer in charge from writing a citation for McGowan's step-daughter. During the encounter, the officer requested that the mayor return to his car and leave the scene. At that time, based on the police report, the patrolman detected the smell of alcohol on McGowan's breath.
The officer on the scene then conducted several sobriety tests on the mayor, who was subsequently arrested for DUI. He was also charged with obstructing government operations. McGowan, who has been mayor of Union Springs for just over a year, was taken into custody but later released on bond.
According to news reports, the mayor's arrest has punctuated an already contentious relationship between him and the municipality's police department, which has included various allegations of police intimidation as well as a local controversy where the law enforcement officials were forced to move sobriety checkpoints farther away from a night club allegedly owned by one of the mayor's family members.
McGowen's court date has been set for January 13, 2010, at the Union Springs Municipal Court.
Union Springs mayor arrested, WSFA.com, December 26, 2009