Driver with .179 BAC throws up in police car and wins license case

May 4, 2016

A motorist in the St. Louis area was involved in a minor fender bender. Police respond and two officers begin questioning witnesses. Fifteen minutes later, two more officers arrive at the scene. As one of these officers is approaching the client, he notices a firearm (100% legal) in the client’s waistband. Without further ado, the officer arrests the client. While the client is walking back to the patrol car, the officers note that he is staggering, stumbling and swaying. His speech is slurred, and he is mumbling. Additionally, his eyes are bloodshot and watery.

While in the back of the patrol car, the client begins throwing up inside the patrol car. At the station, the driver blows a .179 (over two times the legal limit). After a hearing, the court ruled that the officer lacked probable cause to arrest the driver Why? The officers failed to conduct even a basic DWI investigation.

Since the driver’s firearm was completely legal, there was no basis for arresting him and, at the time of arrest, there was no evidence that the driver was intoxicated (i.e. sober drivers have accidents all the time). The moral of the story is simple; police should conduct a thorough investigation before drawing a conclusion. It also helps to have defense attorneys who are willing and able to properly evaluate these types of cases.

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