Thomas G. WitkopLaw Offices

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Just because the police officer says you're drunk does not necessarily mean that you are drunk

My client was just acquitted on all charges for drunk driving after a trial on the merits. The police officer stopped my client for speeding. He smelled a strong odor of alcohol, claimed that my client's speech was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, that he put his foot down five times on the one leg stand test and raised his arms too high and that he took too many steps on the walk and turn test and missed heel to toe. Also my client admitted drinking two shots of alcohol and one beer. The officer was of the opinion that my client was intoxicated.

On cross examination the officer admitted that other than speeding my client was driving the car in a normal manner. My client was able to produce his license from his wallet without any problems. My client communicated accurately with the officer. The officer wasn't positive as to the surface where the Field sobriety tests were done. The officer could not remember if there was anybody else in the car (my client had a very drunk woman in the car who smelled of alcohol). The officer could not remember if he himself lost his balance showing the Field sobriety tests.

We had a witness who stated that he was the DJ at the bar where my client was. He saw my client come in and thought my client was sober. My client was there one hour. When the bar closed my client felt the DJ unload all of his equipment including two 150 pound speakers which were on telescopic stands. My client wrapped up the electrical cables in a neat fashion. My client peeled tape off the floor. My client had no trouble doing these things and left right after that and within five minutes. By the officer. The DJ thought that my client was sober.

My client testified that he had had one shot and had ordered two beers but realized he was on antibiotics and only drink the shot and half of the beer. My client thought that he was sober.

The judge could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that my client was intoxicated or under the influence or even impaired and acquitted him of these charges.

The point is, just because the state claims something is so, does not mean that the trier of fact will believe that beyond a reasonable doubt.
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