Case No.: 2009CT031574A, Palm Beach County, Judge F. Castor, May 11, 2010
Allegations: DUI. My client was accused by Palm Beach County Deputy J. Cooke of failing to maintain a single lane and in the process almost striking another vehicle and then his patrol car as he pulled next to her to determine if she were on the cell phone. After affecting a traffic stop, Deputy Cooke said my client first denied drinking, but quickly admitted that she had been drinking ‘about five hours ago.' He said her speech sounded slurred, she smelled of alcohol, and had blood-shot and glassy eyes. As the result of all he had seen to that point, he determined a DUI investigation was necessary and called for Trooper Roberts of the Florida Highway Patrol to respond. Upon his arrival, Trooper Roberts said he made the same observations of my client that Deputy Cooke did and requested that she perform roadside sobriety tests. When she exited her vehicle, she was leaning against it most of the time. My client declined to participate and was immediately arrested. On video back at the police station, my client was offered a breath test, but declined to take one without first having the opportunity to speak with an attorney before making the decision.
Tools: Jury Trial. Upon my cross examination of the officers, both admitted that my client exhibited no characteristics consistent with impairment once she was outside of her vehicle. She had no trouble responding to the officer's overhead lights activated upon his attempt to stop her. She had no trouble locating, obtaining and producing her documents, and no evidence of any type of balance difficulty once outside the car. However, both officers testified that her speech was slurred. After the officers testified, the state attorney played the video of my client shot at the breath alcohol testing facility. Both the audio and the video portions of the tape were clear. My client had absolutely no slurred speech, no balance difficulty, no mental impairment and no physical impairment. This video was shot within an hour of the arrest. Thankfully, this department uses video tape for its DUI investigation. If it didn't, the jury would have had no reason to discount the officers' opinions of my client's sobriety. The jury came back with aNOT GUILTY verdict in about a half hour.