According to the Harris County DA's office, Houston has the dubious
distincton of having the most DWI deaths in the nation. Nobody denies
that drunk driving is a major safety hazard on Texas roads. But when overzealous
officers arrest an innocent person on flimsy evidence-or no evidence at
all-the accused needs an aggressive DWI defense lawyer.
A recent case in Austin provides a good illustration of law enforcement
making an unjustified arrest. Police pulled a man over for allegedly running
a stop sign. They then gave the man a field sobriety test, and claimed
in an affidavit that he appeared intoxicated. He was arrested for DWI
and taken to the police station. The man told them he only had one drink,
and was willing to take a breath test.
When the man blew into the breathalyzer, it came back with a reading of
0.00-meaning no alcohol whatsoever was in the man's bloodstream. The
man then offered to take a blood test to confirm he wasn't drunk.
It took several months for results of the blood test to come back, but
when they did they were also negative.
Last month, prosecutors dismissed the charges against the man. Amazingly,
Austin police continue to claim the arrest was justified.
The only evidence police had that this man was intoxicated was his alleged
failure to do well on a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are
tests of balance and coordination, administered by officers at the side
of the road. Unlike breath or blood tests, they do not purport to be objective
measures of intoxication. And they fail to take into account other factors,
like fatigue, age and physical condition that could affect a person's
ability to perform the test.
Source: Austin American-Statesman, "Despite negative blood and breath tests,
man arrested for DWI," Tony Plohetski, Feb. 24, 2014