State of Texas v. C.A. - Dismissed on April 1, 2008
At 10:42 pm on December 13, 2007, Client was driving home after leaving a Texans' game when she was stopped for speeding, traveling 70mph when restricted to 50mph on the feeder of I-10 West at Fry Road in Katy, Texas. Once stopped, the trooper observed a mild odor of alcohol. The trooper does not report observations about Client's ability to walk, turn, or balance, nor does trooper report observations regarding the condition of Client's eyes or speech. When asked whether she had anything to drink, Client admitted to drinking 3-4 Bloody Marys. The trooper asked Client to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and observed all 6 clues on the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Tests. On the One Leg Stand Test the trooper observed the following 3 clues: Client swayed, used arms for balance, and drops foot. On the Walk and Turn Test the trooper observed the following 3 clues: starts too soon, missed heel to toe (several times), and uses arms for balance. Client refused to take a breath test, then took the Breath Test and Client's BAC tested at .117 and .112.
After viewing the video I observed Client to appear completely normal, I did not detect any slurred speech when Client spoke. I also observed Client to perform all Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in a satisfactory manner, I did not observe Client to sway or have any problem with balance at any point during the encounter. Client's performance was not perfect, but perfection is not required.
As for the BAC test, I observed the trooper reports on the DIC-24 that Client refused the Breath Test and Client signed the refusal. Client stated that the trooper said she could go home if she took the Breath Test, therefore Client was in custody and the Breath Test was coerced.
I gave the District Attorney two choices: 1) set the case for a jury trial and attempt to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Client did not have the normal use of her mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol into her body, because in my opinion the Breath Test result would be suppressed; or 2) dismiss the case.