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Teen gets hit by Spokane police car, faces drug charges

As mentioned in last week's post, police misconduct has featured in the news prominently recently. Whether conducting an illegal search and seizure or infringing on the rights of a suspect, unlawful police behavior may come under intense scrutiny. Last month in Spokane, a teenager was driving when his vehicle was struck by a police car. However, the teen was the one who left the scene facing criminal charges.

The incident took place on December 8, when, according to a report, a Spokane police cruiser went through a red light. The police SUV and a Honda being driven by a 16-year-old collided, but the aftermath of the crash has not been without controversy. Officials recently charged the teen with driving under the influence. According to police the young driver smelled of marijuana and exhibited bloodshot eyes. Court records show that the teenager apparently admitted to smoking marijuana a few hours prior to the crash.

There is body camera footage of the moments following the crash that reportedly show the police officer saying multiple times that he "screwed up." The officer has received medals in the past for job performance, but the same officer has also been part of a standoff that ultimately killed a man. According to a spokeswoman for the Spokane police, the officer has not been placed on leave since the crash with the teen's Honda.

Sometimes residents of Washington may face DUI charges or allegations of drug offenses if they are involved in a car accident -- even if that accident was not their fault. What can one do in a situation like this? Obtaining legal advice soon after can be helpful, especially if one suspects police or other officials have not followed the law or otherwise behaved unethically during a traffic stop, arrest or other situation. Speaking with a lawyer can provide insight into why charges were brought and what can be done to defend against them.

Source: The New York Daily News, "Teen driver whose car was hit by Spokane police cruiser charged with driving under the influence," Tobias Salinger, Jan. 21, 2016

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