State of Texas v. J.H. - Dismissed on November 25, 2009
On April 16, 2009, Client is having drinks with several friends at a restaurant in the Galleria. Client leaves the restaurant around 8:30pm with her friend and goes home to finish work. Sometime after 11pm Client returns to the restaurant to pickup her remaining two friends. At 11:30pm as Client was driving home she was stopped for speeding, traveling 56mph when restricted to 35mph on Westheimer Road in Houston, Texas. The police officer also reported that Client was slow to respond to his emergency lights, and that he was required to instruct Client to pull over by loud speaker. Client first stops her truck on the outside raised median below an overpass. But the officer instructs her to move to a parking lot. The police officer reported an odor of alcohol, glassy eyes, slurred speech, and that Client was unsteady when walking and swayed while trying to balance. When asked whether she had anything to drink, Client denied drinking. The officer asked Client to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and observed all 6 clues on the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Tests. Client refused all other Field Sobriety Tests. Later, Client also refused to take a breath test.
After viewing the video I observed that Client spoke clearly and precisely throughout the encounter. At no point during the encounter did I observe Client to be unsteady while walking, to have trouble balancing, or exhibit any swaying motion during the encounter. Client became more and more agitated by the officer's persistent requests to perform additional tests, and to admit that she had been drinking. Client continued to deny drinking and to ask for justification from the officer for the Field Sobriety Tests. The officer continued to insist that he smelled alcohol and stated that Client was speeding and that it had taken her too long to pull over after he had activated his lights. Since the officer was not providing Client with a satisfactory answer, Client became more and more agitated to the point of screaming at the officer and slamming her truck door.
There were four obstacles to convincing the District Attorney to dismiss the Client's case. First, Client had been arrested for DWI two years earlier and that case had been dismissed. Second, the first Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case viewed Client's anger toward the officer as irrational, which she attributed to alcohol. Third, Client had refused all SFSTs except HGN and refused the BAC test. Fourth, one of Client's passengers can be heard on video stating "I don't know why she is lying to you ...she's had a couple of drinks".
In short the District Attorney's decision to dismiss after the case was set for trial was based on a more experienced Assistant District Attorney taking over the case. The new ADA said "DWB or Driving While a Bitch is not a crime", so he dismissed the case.