After initially indicating that he would not do so, the former University of Texas standout said he would “fight the case” because he is “not guilty.”
According to Houston police officers, Mr. Young was parked at an intersection with his hazard lights on. He initially rolled down his window when officers approached, and then rolled it back up as they got closer. Mr. Young supposedly smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, and subsequently failed field sobriety tests. He was booked into jail and released on $500 bond.
Mr. Young previously pleaded guilty to DWI in 2016. Shortly after this latest arrest, the University of Texas fired Mr. Young from his consulting job, citing performance issues.
Circumstantial Evidence DWI Cases
You do not have to be a former NFL quarterback to fight DWI charges, especially if the state only has circumstantial evidence. As a former prosecutor, I know that these cases are difficult for the state to win.
As an overview, evidence like physical symptoms of alcohol consumption and the field sobriety tests are designed to establish probable cause for a DWI arrest, When used for this purpose, such evidence is effective. But when prosecutors must use these things to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a much higher standard, there may be issues.
Let’s begin with physical symptoms of alcohol consumption. If the officer sees these things, the officer will probably ask the defendant to “step out of the car” and perform field sobriety tests. Consumption evidence includes:
Odor of alcohol,
Slurred speech, and
This evidence does not establish intoxication on any level. For example, alcohol often causes bloodshot eyes. Then again, so does smoking, fatigue, allergies, and a number of other things.
The field sobriety tests provide better evidence of intoxication, but such circumstantial evidence is still shaky. The three approved field sobriety tests are:
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: Alcohol is not the only cause of this condition, which is also called lazy eye. In fact, alcohol is not even the leading HGN cause. Additionally, many people have a lazy eye, but they are only symptomatic if under extreme stress. That sounds like a DWI arrest to me.
One-Leg Stand: People with any mobility impairment whatsoever usually cannot stand on one leg whether they are drunk or sober. Perhaps their muscles are too weak to elevate their legs, or perhaps they have sensation issues in their planted feet which make it difficult to balance.
Heel-to-Toe Walk: Walking a straight line is also very difficult if the defendant has any mobility impairments. The task is also difficult if the defendant must walk an imaginary line as opposed to an actual line. Environmental factors, like darkness and an uneven surface, come into play as well.
Unapproved FSTs, like the Romberg balance test and the reciting-the-ABCs test, are usually either inadmissible or only admissible for limited purposes.
It’s very hard for prosecutors to win DWI cases with just circumstantial evidence. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle matters in Parker County and nearby jurisdictions.