On Jan. 1, 2013, police in Austin, Texas, pulled over a man driving a vintage Buick for running a red light. Given the nature of the traffic violation, they decided to investigate the man for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Larry Davis was more than willing to clear himself of any wrongdoing and voluntarily took both breath and blood tests for the officers. He reportedly blew a blood-alcohol-content of 0.00 and was tested for seven different types of drugs. The tests later came back negative.
“I told them I would take a blood sample as well, just to prove that I didn’t have anything in my system,” Davis told KVUE-TV.
Still, he was arrested for a DWI after an officer felt his performance on a field sobriety test was subpar. He reportedly spent a night in jail and “had a criminal case hanging over his head for year.”
Commander David Mahoney claims the officer involved in the case felt like the driver may have been on another drug — such as marijuana — that wasn’t part of the drug test.
Attorney Daniel Betts, who is representing Davis, said he was in “shock” when he learned what happened and received the evidence. Davis and his attorney reportedly plan to file a grievance with the Austin Police Monitor’s office against the arresting officer.
There is some controversy surrounding the police department’s so-called take-no-chances policy, which reportedly resulted in as many as 30 percent of drunk driving cases being dismissed by county prosecutors in 2011 due to shaky evidence that wouldn’t hold up in court.
A review by KVUE-TV found similar data from 2013. “Of 5,648 new DWI cases filed last year, 1,559, a little less than 30 percent, were dismissed,” the report adds.
While police admit that arresting a driver who tested negatively on both blood and breath tests is highly unusual, Commander Mahoney sort of defended the officer who arrested Davis.
“If there is someone who is impaired, we don’t want them driving. We need to get them off the road, so that was probably his mindset,” he said.