In CCL#1, Chuck Lanehart et al had to win one the hard way (pick a jury, cross-examine witnesses, etc.). It was a no breath test case. Client age 30, very good appearance, very courteous and cooperative with the cop. Stop was for speeding and erratic driving. Cop wrote that client slurred his speech, but backed off after viewing video. Cop remembered after a year and a half client ran over a curb, and fumbled for his license and insurance, though these observations were not noted in his report, and were not obvious from the video. Client lost his balance a few times on the FST’s, so that was the focus of our defense. FST’s were done on an incline, which we proved with photos of a carpenter’s level on the sidewalk. Cop varied here and there from the FST guidelines/instructions in the book, but blew off those variations as insignificant. The NHTSA manuel is very clear that the instructions, etc., are to be followed in the standardized manner or the test is invalid. We were able to get this into evidence through the cop. It is absolutely essential to have a NHTSA manuel in order to effectively cross-examine a cop on FST’s. We also had two excellent sobriety witnesses (drinking buddies that night — one a Lubbock firefighter, the other a local real estate guy) who testified without any cross-examination that client was not intoxicated. Twenty minute not guilty verdict today. Thanks to my law clerk J.D. Schmidt for assisting.

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