Friday, October 27, 2017

Fantastic Results for Three of Attorney Murray's Clients

Case #1: Operating With Detectable Amount of Restricted Controlled Substance-Second Offense Completely Dismissed

JR was pulled over for speeding around 9:30 PM on a Saturday while driving three friends home from a night out. She informed the officer that she was the designated driver and that she had not been drinking. The officer then had JR step out of the vehicle to blow a preliminary breath test (PBT). The first PBT did not register. The officer then questioned JR again if she was not drinking and now JR admitted that she had consumed alcohol. The PBT resulted in a "quick reading" that confirmed JR had been drinking. The officer then put JR through field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed and another PBT was administered, which gave a result of .085 g/210L. JR was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)-Second Offense and a blood test returned a result of .07 g/100mL.

While prosecutors can choose to move forward on an OWI charge with a .07 result, it is much easier to work out an amendment to a lesser ticket in these situations. In spite of this, what many people do not realize is that if law enforcement does not like the result of the blood test, they can test your blood again for drugs, which is what happened in JR's case. The bigger problem is that any detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance is enough to prosecute someone as if it were an OWI. Unfortunately for JR, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC was found in her blood and the prosecution would not agree to amend the charge. On the other hand, JR hired Attorney Matthew Murray who successfully argued that the officer did not have the requisite reasonable suspicion or probable cause to extend the stop for the first PBT.

The real key to this was getting the officer to admit at the motion hearing that he never observed any of the typical signs of intoxication from JR--i.e., bloodshot eyes, odor of intoxicants, slurred speech, etc. Knowing how to cross-examine an officer is essential for these types of cases. In fact, at the motion hearing, the officer stated that the only reason he gave JR a PBT was to confirm whether she was telling the truth about drinking. It would be an enormous encroachment on our Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures if an officer could simply administer a PBT to anyone to see if they were telling the truth about drinking. Case dismissed. Happy client.

Case #2: OWI/PAC-First Offense with .14 and Horrible Facts Amended to Reckless Driving.

KB was in a difficult position. A deputy found her asleep in the driver seat of her vehicle on the side of a county highway. The deputy had to knock several times and yell before KB awoke. The deputy alleged that there was a strong odor of intoxicants coming from KB and that her eyes were bloodshot and glassy. She told the deputy that as she was driving home she felt too drunk so she pulled over. The officer took KB's driver's license back to his car and when he returned, KB was vomiting inside her car and on herself. KB then allegedly failed the field sobriety tests and submitted to an Intoximeter test resulting in .14. Not good. 

However, after reviewing hours of recordings and ferreting through police reports, Attorney Murray observed in the video of the Intoximeter room that the deputy used hand sanitizer immediately before handling the mouthpiece where KB was to blow. In fact, the deputy used so much that he had to use a napkin to wipe up the excess sanitozer that landed on the desk. While Attorney Murray filed several motions, a challenge to the admissibility of the Intoximeter test result was the breaking point and an amendment to Reckless driving was given.

Believe it or not, many attorneys do not bother getting the Intoximeter room recordings. KB sure is glad she hired an attorney who did.

Case #3: OWI-First Offense Amended to Inattentive Driving

AN was arrested and blew a .09 on a PBT at the scene. However, her blood test returned a result of .078. As noted above in JR's case, many prosecutors will still decide to move forward with these prosecutions and that could very well have happened here as AN had admitted to drinking, failed the standard field sobriety tests and also failed an alphabet test. This, however, would have been something we would have fought all the way. Knowing this, the prosecutor offered to amend the matter to a citation for Reckless Driving. This was rejected by the defense and the case ultimately settled with the lesser citation for Inattentive Driving. Another great result.