The police aren’t perfect. In fact, like any other large group of people, a few of them are criminals. While some police departments come up with outlandish and questionable schemes for enforcing California’s DUI laws, sometimes individual officers actually step over the line and break the law while pretending to enforce the law. Former Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy Stephen Tanabe is one such ex-officer. Tanabe will spend 15 months in a federal prison for arresting California drivers for DUI to help their ex-wives’ divorce and custody cases. The Contra Costa Times reports that 50-year-old Tanabe was sentenced in March for multiple felonies including conspiracy and extortion.

In 2011, the former deputy was paid by a private investigator to arrest men outside bars in complicated stings called “dirty DUIs.” Mitchell Katz, a northern California winery owner, was lured to a bar by the private investigator on the pretext that TV “reality show” producers wanted to make an episode about Katz’ winery. Katz said the meeting was actually arranged to trick him into drinking so that Tanabe, waiting outside, could arrest him for driving under the influence and Katz’s estranged wife could use the charge against him in custody proceedings. Other DUI cases being reviewed include a 44-year-old Martinez man and a 47-year-old Oakland resident, both arrested by Katz and charged with DUI.

Unfortunately, when you’re driving and you’re pulled over by the police, you can no longer know if the officer is acting legitimately, maliciously, or just mistakenly. That’s why it’s imperative to get help from an experienced DUI defense attorney any time you face a DUI charge in California. A good DUI defense lawyer will evaluate the details of your case and determine if your arrest and charges are legitimate. Your attorney may be able to discredit the prosecution’s witnesses and evidence and may even be able to have the charge reduced or dismissed. If you are charged in California with DUI – now or in the future – protect yourself and call an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately.