An Austin, Texas man was charged with a DWI last January, even though he took a breath test that cleared him of having alcohol in his system. Cops cited Austin’s “take-no-chances” policy, which might as well be called the “because we can” policy.
It took over a year for the charges against Larry Davis to be dropped, despite his voluntary roadside breath test and despite the blood test that also cleared him of not only alcohol, but 7 other drugs.
Davis had been pulled over for running a stop sign.
As ridiculous as this case sounds, it is far from the first time this has happened in Austin. It appears to be a trend with the APD.
The Defenders, a team of investigative journalists for the city’s local station, KVUE, reports that the Austin PD has a track record of sending a lot of cases like this to court, where they are quickly dismissed.
The Defenders first reported cases like this in a 2011 joint Austin American-Statesman investigation. One case was that of Bianca Fuentes, who blew below the legal limit of .08 in a breath test.
At the time, county prosecutors were dismissing about 30 percent of drunk driving cases – more than any major Texas county — because they said APD was bringing them weak cases that wouldn’t hold up in court.
A Defenders review finds similar statistics for 2013. Of 5,648 new DWI cases filed last year, 1,559, a little less than 30 percent, were dismissed.
Police are still abiding by a take-no-chances policy, even if it means the cases are later thrown out. (source)
As ridiculous as this incident is, it’s important to note that Mr. Davis or any other person unjustly accused in this fashion would need to secure an attorney, would have to miss work for court dates, preparation, and appointments, and would have this charge hanging over them, causing stress and embarrassment for the entire time.
Mr. Davis and his attorney plan to file a grievance against the arresting officer now that the case has finally been dismissed, 13 months after the incident.
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