Sober man arrested for DUI gets case dismissed - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Sober man arrested for DUI gets case dismissed

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RED BANK, TN (WRCB) -  "He asked me if I'd been drinking. I said no, sir," said Steven Harris, who was falsely charged with a DUI last year. 

After months of waiting for blood test results to come back, Harris' case was dismissed this week. He had zero alcohol or drugs in his system when he was arrested.

A state trooper pulled him over in Red Bank.   After just leaving a pool hall, he was suspected of a DUI.

"I told the officer beforehand that I had fought cancer when I was three years old, and I'm a little bit off balance. Not to mention, I was nervous because i've never been in that situation," Harris said.

After failing the field sobriety test, the trooper put Harris in a squad car and took him to a hospital where he agreed to a blood sample.  Next stop was jail.

"Completely sober, looking at everyone else that was either high or intoxicated, scared for my life," Harris described his time in a holding cell.

The first blood test results took three months. It showed zero alcohol. Additional drug testing took several more months, but results still came back zero. A judge finally dropped Harris' charges this week.

"In a case like a DUI, people lose jobs, they lose income, families suffer. There needs to be a reason to arrest them," said Bill Speek, Harris' attorney.

Harris missed out on several job opportunities after some employers questioned the pending DUI charge on his record.

Even though the officer followed protocol, the false DUI charge carried damaging effects.

"I think this can be an opportunity to kind of tighten the protocols that go into arresting people for such a stigmatizing offense," Speek said.

"I get no compensation from this. That's just six months of my life that I will not get back," said Harris.

Harris' case has been dismissed, but it will take another 30 days for his record to clear. He hopes to have better luck finding a job once that happens.
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