Aurora Police Department (APD) will not be charging Officer Nathan Meier for a DUI, despite him admitting to drinking alcohol and becoming impaired. In March of 2019, Meier was discovered in his unmarked police car stopped in the middle of the street, with the engine still running. This prompted a witness to report the incident to the authorities.
Officers attempted to wake up Meier, but he was unresponsive. Meier was ultimately transported to the hospital, where he regained consciousness.
Meier was ultimately demoted from agent to officer as a consequence of the incident. However, the details of the investigation and the decision not to charge Meier for a DUI has caused a public outcry.
One of the first law enforcement officials to arrive was Paul O’Keefe, APD’s current interim police chief. In his report, O’Keefe said, “based on the lack of information, my own observations, the fact the car was stopped (ignition on) with no motor vehicle accident or driving observations, and the lack of any additional evidence (no other noted smells, no bloodshot watery eyes, physical impairment inconsistent with my experience with DUI) it was decided that no testing would be completed at this time…”
However, some have considered this to be an example of a double-standard for law enforcement officers.
Many criminal defense professionals with experience in DUI cases would quickly point out that the circumstances surrounding Meier’s case would lead to an arrest and investigation.
One of Fife Luneau, P.C.’s Denver DUI attorneys appeared on a segment for Channel 9 News to comment on the story.
"The police officer sitting in his vehicle, stopped in traffic and an odor of alcohol is absolutely enough to conduct a DUI investigation," Attorney Danny Luneau said. “I’ve had clients park their car at a bar, go drink, and then come back to their car—sleep it off instead of drive—and then get a DUI.”
Among one of the vocal critics of the Meier case was Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, who posted on social media saying he was “appalled” about the situation and characterized it as “BS behavior.”
"I’m one of the loudest defenders of America’s men and women in blue when they are unfairly criticized for doing a very difficult job,” Smith wrote. “However, I have no tolerance for misconduct or cover up…”
The APD released a statement responding to the public outcry, stating:
“In addition to being demoted from the rank of Agent back to officer, Ofc. Meier also received a significant unpaid suspension. As a result of this discipline, Ofc. Meier has experienced a financial impact in excess of $20,000 and will continue to experience such impact over the next few years as a result of his continued demotion.
In addition, he has stringent rules to follow while he remains employed with the Aurora Police Department. Among those rules he has signed an agreement that any similar or significant infraction will result in immediate termination.
We understand in order to maintain the public’s trust we need to be transparent with our actions. We take our responsibility to the public very serious and hold our members accountable for their wrong doings.”
Contact Fife Luneau, P.C. for Quality Legal Advocacy
At Fife Luneau, P.C., we are wary of the unfair treatment of DUI defendants. The news about how APD dealt with Officer Meier’s incident demonstrates the level of unfairness that people charged arrested for DUIs face. As a result, we are dedicated to helping make sure that this kind of unfairness does not affect our clients. By defending your constitutionally protected due process rights, we fight against police misconduct and government overreach.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, please call Fife Luneau, P.C. at (720) 408-7130 or visit us online to schedule an initial consultation discussing your legal rights today.