State of Texas v. C.J. - Dismissed on December 19, 2006
At 2:55 am on August 24, 2006, Client was driving home after leaving a local bar when he was stopped for speeding, traveling 67mph when restricted to 35mph on Bay Area Boulevard in Houston, Texas. The officer also reported that Client changed lanes 2 to 3 times without signaling, and that Client hit the curb when making a right turn on to Saturn. Once stopped, the officer observed a strong odor of alcohol. The officer does not report observations about Client's ability to walk or turn, but does report that Client swayed while balancing. The officer further reports that he observed Client's eyes to be bloodshot and that Client's speech was slurred. When asked whether he had anything to drink, Client admitted to drinking 2 or 3 beers. The officer 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 officer observed the following 1 clue: Client swayed; which means the officer agrees that Client passed the One Leg Stand Test. On the Walk and Turn Test the officer observed the following 3 clues: missed heel to toe, uses arms for balance, and wrong number of steps on the return, improper turn. Client refused to take a breath test.
After viewing the video I observed Client to appear completely normal, and 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 at any point during the encounter. Client's performance was not perfect, but perfection is not required. Client took several extra steps when walking back down the line on the Walk and Turn Test. Client's use of arms for balance was minimal if non-existent and it did not appear that Client missed heel to toe at any point while walking the line. The District Attorney would have to prove that Client intoxicated because he made an improper turn and took the wrong number of steps on Walk and Turn Test; remember Client passed the One Leg Stand Test.
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 his mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol into his body, or 2) dismiss the case.