As Dallas criminal defense attorneys we are familiar with cases in which people are arrested on suspicion of DWI even if they have no drugs or alcohol in their system.
This is what happened to the wife of Texas GOP gubernatorial candidate Allen West.
The Texas Tribune reported Angela Graham-West, 61, was arrested and jailed overnight by Dallas police on suspicion of driving while intoxicated even though she had no traces of drugs and alcohol in her system.
Graham-West was driving home from dinner at P.F. Chang’s with her 3-month-old grandson when she was pulled over by a police officer after she swerved into the shoulder of the highway.
Evidence from the arrest suggested Graham-West showed signs of intoxication in parts of the field sobriety test. Her attorney attributed the issues to a previous brain aneurysm. The Texas Tribune reported a Breathalyzer test taken by the roadside was inconclusive.
Allen West, a former head of the Texas GOP, attacked Dallas Police on social media over the incident. He branded his wife’s arrest and brief imprisonment as “insidious” and “unjust.” He said later the toxicology report proved the arrest was baseless and unwarranted.
“I stand by my assertion that a full apology to my wife Angela is warranted,” West said in a statement. “As well, the full unedited body cam video should be released by the Dallas PD Chief Garcia to the press and the public. My wife’s honor and reputation should have never been assailed.”
The Dallas Police Department released body camera footage of the arrest in a press conference a few days after Graham-West’s arrest, calling West’s description of the events a “mischaracterization.”
However, the Dallas District Attorney’s office rejected the case because the toxicology report conclusively showed Graham-West had no alcohol or drugs in her system at the time blood was drawn.
The arrest of Angela Graham-West once again points to the drawbacks of field sobriety tests. People who fail these tests may be arrested in the absence of a positive breath or drug reading.
However, drivers can fail field sobriety tests for a multitude of reasons including nervousness, medical conditions, or vision problems.
Field sobriety tests have been used by law enforcement for decades and are notoriously unreliable. Drivers under suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can and refuse to take field sobriety tests.
If you have been arrested for DWI in Texas please contact our Dallas defense team at (214) 720-9552.