My client was found Not Guilty of DWI by a jury. She was driving home late after spending a few hours out with friends. She was tired and her driving was distracted. Several times she swerved outside her lane – not dangerous but distracted. An APD officer saw the suspicious driving and followed her for about half a mile when he turned on his overhead lights.
After he turned on his lights, the remainder of the video was excellent. She drove within her own lane, she took the first available turn using her signal, she came to a stop in a safe and reasonable manner. She did not strike the corner of the curb as she turned. She put her vehicle in park. She waited patiently for the officer to approach her window. She answered the officer’s questions honestly. She was still requested to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Her speech was good, attitude good, balance and attention all good. The Officer based his arrest decision on the initial bad driving and the odor of an alcoholic beverage.
The jury thought that this might have been alcohol related but was more easily explained by the client being physically tired and distracted before the officer turned on his overhead lights. They believed that if she had been intoxicated, her driving would not have suddenly improved and she would not have been able to perform so well on the SFSTs. The prosecutor’s arguments of “masking” did not apply here. Her physical performance and her mental faculties were all coherent. Client was oriented to time and place and she was able to give her starting point, her current location, and her destination and time with clarity. The Jury also felt uncomfortable convicting someone when the officer could have easily obtained blood results which were not presented in this case.