Officer in Tulare plead not guilty to DUI charges


Tulare Police Officer Shannon Oliver did not appear in court for her arraignment, but her attorney entered a "not guilty" plea on her behalf.

The 17-year law enforcement veteran faces a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence with a special allegation for having a blood-alcohol level higher than .15. The legal driving limit is .08. Investigators say Oliver had a blood-alcohol level of .22 when she crashed her patrol car in Visalia the night of March 2nd.

Despite the "not guilty" plea, Oliver's attorney, Sara Bratsch, tells Action News her client accepts full responsibility for her actions. "Alcohol was involved and she made a poor decision it was a one-time horrible decision that is now affecting the rest of her life."

Shannon Oliver was driving on Plaza Drive West of Walnut Avenue in Visalia when investigators say she swerved across the road and crashed her Tulare Police car, taking out fifty feet of a nearby fence.

Tulare Police Officers are only allowed to drive their patrol cars to and from work or to official police business.

Bratsch says Shannon Oliver is still waiting to hear about her final status at the Tulare Police Department. "The public opinion has been very negative and we are just hoping that the public understands that people make mistakes and that she's a human being first and a law enforcement officer second."

Bratsch says her client is in counseling and wants the public to know she understands that her arrest is disappointing to the public. "She's been a 17 year, law enforcement officer who has been highly decorated and has been receiving awards and awards for her dedication to the community and she's just hoping the community forgives her and is able to understand that people make mistakes."

Shannon Oliver is expected to go to trial on DUI charges next month but there's a possibility she could reach a plea deal with prosecutors before then.

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