On the night of January 13, 2013, Austin police stopped driver Larry Davis after he ran a stop sign near U.S. 290 and Interstate 35. Davis told them he had only had one drink, but the officers noted that he appeared intoxicated based on his performance in a field sobriety test.
Although Davis insisted he was not drunk, according to the Statesman, the officers took him to the local jail, where he was given a Breathalyzer test.
The test’s results supported Davis’ claim: he blew a 0.00, the lowest possible reading.
Davis also voluntarily took a blood test, the results of which did not come back for months, but which also ultimately returned negative results.
Davis’ arrest last January meant that he spent a day in jail, and was at the center of a criminal case that lasted for more than a year.
Because he was declared indigent, the county picked up his several-hundred-dollar legal fees.
Although police have said that the decision they had to make in this particular case is one they are often presented with, defense lawyers say it shows how “overzealous Austin police can be in making DWI arrests.”
In fact, by the take-no-chances policy by which police operate, if a driver looks drunk, he/she will be arrested, and the court system will work it out in the future.
What this results in is about 30 percent of DWI cases being dismissed.
After viewing the police dash cam footage of Davis’ arrest and reviewing evidence, defense lawyer Daniel Betts said that his “reaction was just shock that it happened.”
Police have stood by their decision to arrest Davis, contending that he may still have been under the influence of drugs such as marijuana at the time.
Cmdr. David Mahoney, the arresting officers’ supervisor, has spoken out in support of the decision. “If there is someone who is possibly impaired, we don’t want them driving,” said Mahoney.
“We need to get them off the road, so that was probably (the officer’s) mindset,” Mahoney continued.
Last week, prosecutors dismissed the case against Davis. Davis is now working to have his arrest record wiped clean, which could take another several months to complete.
“I was arrested for nothing, really,” Davis said. “It was suspicion of drunk driving, which I wasn’t so I was surprised and hurt at the same time.”
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