Every DUI Case is Different – Understanding That Can Make All the Difference in the Outcome.
I recently won a DUI case with another attorney that highlights the need for lawyers to treat each case differently and on its own facts. So, whether your hiring counsel or you’re using a public defender, make sure they see your case, not just “every other DUI case.”
The client in this case had been pulled over for speeding in Colorado Springs in the early morning hours – and was none too happy about it. When the officer approached, he gave the client the standard “why were you going so fast” speech. When the client gave the likewise standard reply that he was distracted, the officer was equally unhappy, and things went south very quickly. The conversation became heated and, during the exchange, the officer noticed that the client had “pink, glassy eyes.” Apparently on this basis alone, the client was accused of DUI-D and arrested.
Review of the Evidence
Having looked at all the facts which occurred on the scene, my co-counsel and I did not believe there was any evidence of intoxication. None. So, we started digging into the paperwork. Now, in DUI cases, if the officer does not write something in the narrative of the police report, it usually means that whatever is missing went well for the client.
On reviewing the paperwork, we noticed that the officer checked multiple boxes on the arrest forms that were great – and didn’t support the government’s case at all. Specifically, the officer had admitted (though did not write most of it in his narrative), that the client:
- had pulled over properly when the officer turned on his patrol car’s lights
- had no slurred speech
- had no balance problems
- had no hand movement problems
- had no smell of marijuana in the car or on the client’s breath, and
- had no smell of alcohol in the car or on the client’s breath.
Put plainly, there was simply nothing to suggest the client was DUI-D except for what the officer called pink, glassy eyes. But remember – it was very early in the morning. Everyone has pink glassy eyes first thing in the morning!
The Search for Evidence Continued
Knowing that something didn’t make sense, we kept reviewing every bit of the evidence, including every second of the dash camera footage. And by treating this case as different from every other case, what did we find?
On a video which spanned about 35 minutes, there was a 3-4 second snippet which was gold. Pure gold. In it, the arresting officer says to the cover officer words to the effect of: If the client hadn’t been a jerk – the officer would have only given the client a speeding ticket! While it was difficult to believe the officer said this – he reconfirmed it on the stand at the motion to suppress hearing under cross-examination!
So, by realizing that something in this case was different, like it is in every case – we kept looking until we found what it was. And because of this, the prosecution dismissed the DUI charge citing an inability to prove its case at trial.
If you’ve been charged with DUI, or any crime, your best option is to immediately retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who can begin gathering the facts needed to support – and defend – your case.
I invite you to call me to learn how my firm can help. Additionally, if you are looking to appeal a conviction, give me a call. I have represented and advised clients in over 1000 appeals (including before the United States Supreme Court) and was the senior legal advisor to a federal appeals judge until his retirement. All initial consultations, no matter the issue, are always free of charge.