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Should this man have been arrested for drunk-driving?

Posted on March 27, 2014 in Field Sobriety Tests

When an individual is arrested for driving under the influence, it is expected that police have probable cause to make that arrest. Probable cause means sufficient evidence to believe that the individual being arrested has committed the crime. Police are not infallible in this task, though, and their judgments can be flawed. A man arrested last June for drunkdriving in Austin may have had such an experience.

The man, according to police, was originally stopped for running a stop sign. Officers said he failed sobriety testing by swaying during one part and using his arms to balance himself while standing on one leg. Based upon those supposed failures, police put the man in jail on a drunk-drivingcitation.

However, a breathalyzer administered upon the man at the jail revealed that he had either no or a negligible amount of alcohol in his system. Further, blood tests revealed that he had no drugs in his system either. That test only screened for seven types of drugs, so it is possible the man had taken another drug. However, the man maintains he was wrongfullyarrested and intends to file a complaint against the officers who arrested him.

Those who are arrested for drunk driving need to understand their rights and know how to look for the weaknesses in the case against them. In this case, officers seem to have had a sketchy basis for the arrest, and then found no evidence of intoxication of drug influence. There may be more going on, but it does make one wonder.

The reality is that police officers don’t always have sufficient evidence to make an arrest. If that evidence is so scanty that a criminal case can’t be supported, prosecutors will dismiss it. Even so, prosecutors sometimes proceed with criminal cases without sufficient evidence. All this is to say that a good criminal defense needs to carefullyscrutinize the actions of police officers, since they are often the main source of evidence for prosecutors.

Source: Huffington Post, “Man Arrested For DWI Tests Negative For Alcohol, Drugs,” Ryan Grenoble, March 1, 2014.

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