Intoxicated Witnesses and Suspects: Procedures and Prevalence According to Law Enforcement
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law
Legal psychologists have generally neglected intoxicated witnesses and suspects in their research. One possible reason is the lack of objective information about the prevalence and characteristics of this witness and suspect group. Also unclear is whether standard police procedures for dealing with intoxicated individuals exist and what these may be. The present survey was conducted to help fill this void. Law enforcement officers completed a survey about their experiences with intoxicated witnesses and suspects. Their responses provide clear evidence that dealing with intoxicated witnesses and suspects is common and that there are few standard procedures for handling such individuals. As our data strongly suggest that this group has a significant presence in law enforcement contexts, several research and policy questions are apparent. For example, if the intoxicated differ from sober witnesses and suspects, should this warrant uniquely tailored procedural recommendations? Findings from this survey are intended to spur and guide research aiming to provide useful guidelines to law enforcement on how to interact with this potentially vulnerable and underresearched group. © 2009 American Psychological Association.
Evans, J., Schreiber Compo, N., & Russano, M. (2009). Intoxicated Witnesses and Suspects: Procedures and Prevalence According to Law Enforcement. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 15 (3), 194-221. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016837