San Diego Police Officer David Hall committed suicide on August 1st, 2011. He did not leave a note; however, the medical examiner's office released a report about their investigation into the suicide, according to msnbc.com.
Hall was arrested for an alleged drunk driving incident on February 22nd. He plead not guilty to two counts of DUI causing injury and one count of felony hit and run with an allegation that his blood alcohol content (BAC) was above .15 percent. He was facing a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in prison if convicted. The week of his suicide, he was due back in court for a pre-trial hearing.
Hall was battling an alcohol addition and was depressed. He was sober for five months after the incident, but he relapsed just before taking his life. He believed the driving under the influence charges could result in the loss of his career as a San Diego police officer. Hall was on administrative leave and was attending counseling sessions with the department's Wellness Unit. He was specifically worried about the hearing that was scheduled the week of his suicide.
Hall's wife, Michelle, believes that the DUI case played a major role in the suicide.
Psychiatrist Dr. Clark Smith commented, "More people commit suicide after a DUI arrest than any other kind of arrest including rape-murder. Often people who are very depressed drink a lot more and both factors increase suicide risk."
Although Dr. Smith's conclusion sounds very plausible, no specific studies were found that backed this conclusion. However, many news stories have reported on others who contemplated, attempted, or completed suicide after being arrested for DUI.
These stories include former republican congressman from New York, John Sweeney. He was interviewed by The Saratogian in March 2011. In that interview he recalled April 5th, 2009, when he laid in bed after his second drunk driving arrest in two years. He admitted, "I was contemplating hanging myself. I found myself in a place of despair that I couldn't get out of. I had reached an end."
Another man in Chicago, Jeffrey Weiten, committed suicide in June 2010, after he was charged with drunk driving after an accident that killed a woman, according to chicagobreakingnews.com.
The Hartford Courant reported Matthew Tuttle, a senior police commander in New Britain, Connecticut, was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound hours after he was arrested on DUI charges after a car accident in May 2011.
A prosecutor in Connecticut's Middlesex Judicial District, John Cashmon, was found dead of an apparent suicide days after he was arrested for alleged drunken driving in August 2011. The New Haven Register reported that he was pulled over for driving erratically and was subsequently arrested. Cashmon was released a few hours later after posting bond and was not heard from again. He was found near a police station.
Criminal allegations, facing jail or prison time, and the possibility of losing your job can cause great stress for criminal defendants. If you have been charged with a crime and the stress has become unbearable, consider seeking help from mental health professionals.
Also, it is very beneficial to seek out legal counsel to help you through the process. If you are facing drunken driving charges, contact an exclusively DUI defense firm that can help you through the legal process by explaining legal procedure, defenses in your case, and your options.
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