"Once you've been thrown into jail completely sober, you realize [the Utah Highway Patrol] can do what they want to you," says Colby Hake.---
Hake was on his way to Club Vegas, he says, to pick up some fliers, when he was pulled over by UHP's Cpl. Lisa Steed a little after 8 p.m. on 15 May, 2010. He's but one of many of Cpl. Steed's enormous list of arrests for DUI and related charges.
Last year she made 400 DUI arrests, although how many resulted in convictions is unknown, but like so many of those arrested by Steed who were featured in my recent cover story, Super Trooper, you are left wondering quite what ends are being served.
Steed pulled over 23 year-old Hake for speeding, he says. She asked for his driver's license, checked it and then asked him, "When's the last time you smoked weed?" What reason did Steed have to ask this question you might ask? She's a certified drug recognition expert, but, defense attorneys argue, asking such a question is often the result of her profiling the driver as, say a potential pothead, than there being any behavior by the driver that might demonstrate he or she is high. Watch enough Steed traffic stops videos and that question, delivered in a delightful Utah twang, is often the first thing out of her mouth once she's checked your license.
Another is what Hake says she then told him: "If you tell me the truth, everything will work out fine."
While Hake is adamant he was sober, he then made what DUI attorneys would argue was a fatal mistake by admitting that he had smoked marijuana in the past and had a pipe in his car.
"I was trying to be honest," he says. All he knew was she had the power to ruin his life.
She took him through field sobriety tests, the first being to follow her moving a pen with a light on it in front of his eyes. He says she told him she knew for a fact he was high, because his eyes gave him away. When he finished the tests, without a word of explanation he says she handcuffed him and put him in the back of her car. She then searched his car, drove him to the UHP and took blood and urine samples.
In Hake's case at least, honesty got him nowhere with Cpl. Steed. She arrested him and according to his DUI summons and citation he was charged with a DUI, possession of drug paraphanalia and doing 44 in a 35 mph zone.
But when he got his blood and urine results, he found that while his urine result showed he was positive for THC, the primary metabolite of marijuana, his blood screen came back negative.
Hake is determined to fight the DUI. He went to South Salt Lake Justice Court in mid September where the judge, he says, was hesitant to provide him with a public defender. "I thought it was my right," he says, given the only work he can get at the moment is 15 hours at $10.25 the hour loading trucks at Lowes. He lives on his own, "from paycheck to paycheck," out of which he has to subsidize his education. "Dude, I couldn't believe I had to fight for a public defender," he says, expressing concern that assuming he gets one, he'll probably have to pay back the cost of the defender at some point.
The judge gave him a court date of Nov. 15, which will be six months after the arrest, six months with a DUI hanging over his head.
"It's not right that you can be arrested when you're sober," he says.