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Abrupt Turn, Near Collision, Bloodshot Eyes, Unruly Passenger…

On a cold night in March, officer observes client make an abrupt turn across two lanes of traffic, almost striking another vehicle before entering the parking lot of a local pharmacy.  He detects a strong odor of alcohol coming from her person, and client’s eyes appear bloodshot and glassy.  She states she just had one glass of wine with dinner and then agrees to perform Field Sobriety Tests and on the condition that she be allowed to remove her high heels. The officer concludes that she failed the HGN Test and asks client is she would submit to a Portable Breath Test (PBT).  After she refuses, he goes on to administer the One Leg Stand Test before placing her under arrest.  A passenger in the vehicle is then placed into Protective Custody due to his level of intoxication.  Defense prepares to demonstrate at trial that the results of the field sobriety tests are of little value in light of client’s physical condition, the location and the weather at the time.  Negotiations result in an admission to a reduced charge.   VERDICT: DWI COMPLAINT DISMISSED

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.

Single-Car Accident, Strong Odor Of Alcohol, .24 Blood Test…

Police respond to the scene of a single-car accident where they find client wandering about the vehicle.  Client admits to driving but can’t explain how the accident happened and has trouble answering basic questions.  Subsequent to his arrest, client is transported to the hospital where he is diagnosed with Acute Alcohol Intoxication.  Blood tests reveal a .24 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), which is three times the legal limit.   A chemist for the state police testifies at trial and is forced to acknowledge that he knows nothing about the manner of the blood draw or the method of testing at the hospital.  The government also fails to introduce any evidence demonstrating what the client’s BAC was at the time of driving.  VERDICT:  NOT GUILTY.

Sleeping At Intersection, Odor of Alcohol, Unsteady on Feet…

Police respond to a location intersection where they find client asleep behind the wheel with the radio blaring.  As the officer knocks on the window, client finally stirs, only to tell the officer to “shhhh or be quiet.”   After finally waking up, client greets the officer the a  ”deer in the headlights” look.  Client appears unsteady on his feet after exiting the vehicle and admits to consuming two (2) beers earlier in the night.  At trial, the defense argues that the officer’s observations were consistent with someone experiencing extreme fatigue, and that client’s unsteadiness could have been caused by a pre-existing medical condition.  VERDICT: NOT GUILTY.

Numerous Lane Violations, Abrupt Stop, Confused, Belligerent…

Officer testifies that client committed numerous marked lanes violations over an extremely short period of time before coming to an “abrupt” stop in response to the officer’s lights and siren.  There is an extremely strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle and client refuses to make eye contact with, or otherwise acknowledge, the officer’s presence.  It is alleged that client was extremely confused, disorientated and that he fell from the vehicle when asked to exit.  Subsequent to his arrest, client allegedly became even more disruptive and made disparaging remarks about the arresting officer’s mother.   On cross-examination, the defense demonstrates that the actual location of the defendant’s operation is inconsistent with the officer’s testimony on that issue.  Questions about the officer’s credibility and memory of the event also raise doubt as to the client’s guilt.  VERDICT:  NOT GUILTY

Hit and Run, Leaving The Scene, Failed Field Sobriety Test…

Police receive a call from  a local restaurant indicating that a truck hit a light pole while exiting the parking lot and then left the scene.  Client is stopped a short time later and the police officer immediately detects a strong odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle.  Client’s eyes appear blood shot, he admits to having a ”couple of drinks” when asked, and he is unable to offer an explanation for the damage to his vehicle.  Client submits to the typical battery of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (HGN, One Leg Stand, Walk and Turn) and allegedly fails them all.  Prior to trial, the defense demonstrates several problems with the arresting officer’s administration of the FSTs resulting in a reduced charge.  VERDICT: DWI COMPLAINT DISMISSED.

DWI Roadblock, OUI Marijuana, Urine Testing…

Client drives into a DWI Sobriety Checkpoint and the screening officer immediately detects the strong odor of marijuana coming from the car.  According to the officer, client’s eyes were extremely red, and he was slow and lethargic when responding to the officer’s questions.  Client admits to having recently smoked marijuana and he is then put through the same Standardized Field Sobriety Tests normally used to predict impairment by alcohol.  Following his arrest, client agrees to provide a urine sample that was then sent to the state lab for testing.  At trial, the defense demonstrates that FSTs have never been validated as reliable indicators of impairment from marijuana.  In addition, the defense demonstrated that the lab test results, which showed only the presence of marijuana in the system, was insufficient evidence of impairment by the drug.   VERDICT: NOT GUILTY.

I Called For A Tow, But The Police Came Instead…

Client gets two (2) flat tires after striking something on the highway and calls 911 for assistance in getting a tow.  Instead of a tow truck, the police respond and client is subjected to a battery of field sobriety tests before ultimately being arrested.  At trial the defense argues that the FST evidence was of little value to the jury, particularly given the location of the tests and the weather conditions at the time.  VERDICT: NOT GUILTY.

Parking Lot Fender-Bender, Strong Odor of Alcohol, Belligerent Behavior…

Police respond to the parking lot of a local tavern where two motorists were involved in a small fender-bender.  Client is accused of refusing to provide insurance information to the other motorist and, when asked by the police, he gives inconsistent answers regarding his consumption of alcohol.  Officers also testify that he displayed a strong odor of alcohol and that his eyes were “extremely glazed and blood shot.”  Officer testifies that client failed four (4) FSTs before being placed under arrest.  At trial the defense calls into question the relevance of the FSTs and client explains that his allegedly belligerent behavior was due to his anger over the accident and not his alcohol consumption.  VERDICT:  NOT GUILTY.

BOLO Report, 911 Caller, Failed FSTs…

Police are dispatched to be on the lookout for a particular vehicle after a 911 caller reports witnessing numerous instances of erratic operation.  Police officer then observes client travelling in excess of the speed limit and committing several marked lanes violations before deciding to stop the car.  Client displays an odor of alcohol, slurred speech, slow movements and appears confused.  Client allegedly fails five (5) FSTs and admits that his performance on the tests may have been impacted by his prior consumption of alcohol.  At trial, the defense demonstrates that the FSTs have little to do with a person’s ability to drive safely. Defense witnesses then testify that client had been at a funeral earlier in the day and had only consumed a small amount of alcohol prior to his encounter with the police.  VERDICT: NOT GUILTY.