A mother of four was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Texas. The twist in the story is that the arrest lead to the mother discovering she had a brain tumor.
On July 31, 2015, the mother dropped off her children at daycare. She drove off and eventually hit a curb and collided with a fire hydrant. The police arrived on the scene. Presumably, they conducted some type of Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) to determine if the mother should be arrested for DUI. This assumes the mother was well enough to conduct the tests despite the crash.
The police arrested the mother for suspicion of DUI. She was taken to the police station and blew a 0.00 when given a Breathalyzer exam. She had to spend a night in jail before being released. The next day she went to the hospital and discovered she had a brain tumor that required brain surgery.
The question remains whether she will be charged with DUI. The State is waiting on toxicology results to be completed to determine whether she was under the influence of some type of drugs. She could be charged with a drug DUI.
For DUI attorneys, the question is what was observed at the crash scene to justify the arrest for DUI. Before police can arrest you for DUI, they must have probable cause. Typically, police rely on observations such as odor of intoxicants, bloodshot and watery eyes and admission of drinking to develop probable cause. However, since the mother blew 0.00, it would seem those observations would be lacking in this case. The only other explanation would be the mother was under the influence of drugs which normally don’t produce odors like alcohol does.
To address drug DUI, police departments many times have officers that have specialized training to make observations for possible drug use. These officers are called Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officers. They can make observations to detect if a person is under the influence of certain categories of drugs such as Depressants, Stimulants, Hallucinogens, Anesthetics, etc.
It is unclear whether the police in Texas used DRE officers. A skilled DUI attorney in this case would file Motions to Suppress Evidence for violations of Constitutional rights such as unlawful arrest. If the attorney won that motion, the arrest and any subsequent evidence would be kick out by the court. This would result in the State not being able to prosecute the mother and charges dismissed.
Jeff Burleson is a skilled DUI defense attorney. He is a former prosecutor that has prosecuted thousands of DUI cases. He knows DUIs inside and outside including drug DUI. Contact Jeff for a free consultation if you have been charged with DUI.