Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Catalin Pavel is scheduled to appear in court August 13 to be advised on felony charges resulting from a DUI stop that occurred earlier this summer. Pavel, a training officer who has been with the sheriff’s department for about a decade, was arrested in early July and charged with two felonies — one count of forging a public record and one count of forgery of a government document — and a lesser charge of official misconduct.
According to CBS4 Denver, Pavel is accused of falsifying DUI records, specifically a Breath Alcohol checklist, connected with the June traffic stop of a Thornton man. The station reported that all charges against the man were dropped. It is not known if Pavel’s arrest will affect any other pending DUI cases. Pavel, who has denied any wrongdoing, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the case. If convicted of a felony, he could face at least a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Pavel is not the first officer to be accused of officially mishandling DUI cases. Last year, a Richmond County (Georgia) sheriff’s deputy was forced to resign after he admitted falsifying readings from an Alco-Sensor, a hand-held alcohol-testing device. Officials there said his admission could affect the prosecution of hundreds of DUI cases.
In Sacramento, California, a former DUI officer is awaiting trial on 10 counts of perjury and 24 counts of making false statements on police reports. Officer Brandon Mullock stands accused of lying about witnesses’ statements, suspects’ behavior and suspects’ performances on sobriety tests. If convicted, Mullock could face up to 23 years in prison. According to the Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has had to dismiss more than 70 cases, most involving DUIs, in which Mullock was the primary arresting officer. In some of those cases, the suspects had already been sentenced, and the DA was forced to bring the cases back to court in order to dismiss them.