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Marked Lanes Violations, Designated Driver, HGN Test…

Client is stopped after officer observes him drift into the breakdown lane of the highway and then straddle the line before drifting back across the first travel lane before straddling the line between lanes one and two.  Client denies drinking when asked and explains that he was the designated driver, returning from a night out with his girlfriend.  Officer says he could smell the odor of alcohol “masked by a sweet fragrance.”  Client is asked of he would submit to a Portable Breath Test (PBT) and/or Field Sobriety Tests, and declines the breath test but does agree to perform the road-side FSTs.  Officer administers the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN), the Walk and Turn test, and the One Leg Stand Test, and then forms the opinion that client is impaired.  Client then admits to having a few rum-and-cokes earlier int he evening.  Through cross-examination at a pre-trial hearing, the defense demonstrates that the officer’s administration of the HGN test failed to comply with his training in many respects.  Subsequent negotiations results in a reduction of the charges.  VERDICT:  DWI COMPLAINT DISMISSED.

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