A 54-year-old Texas man was taken into custody in Midland after a police investigation allegedly revealed the presence of crack cocaine. Authorities report that the Burnet resident was injured after the arresting officer tackled him to the ground to prevent him from destroying narcotics evidence said to have been hidden in his mouth. He was taken to Midland Memorial Hospital, where his BAC was tested, and he was charged with third-degree felony driving while intoxicated and third-degree felony tampering or fabricating physical evidence.
The June 27 incident began when Midland police stopped the defendant for an unspecified traffic violation. The officer claims that there was an open container of alcohol inside the defendant’s vehicle, the defendant smelled of alcohol and he had slurred speech. After the vehicle’s passenger reportedly informed the officer that the defendant was allegedly hiding drugs inside his mouth, the officer injured him while trying to prevent him from chewing and destroying the evidence. If convicted, this will be the defendant’s fourth DWI.
When someone is charged with a DWI-enhanced felony, the consequences can be very serious. Such charges can follow a person long after the original crime; potential employers in the future may decline to hire a candidate with felonies on his or her record.
In order to mount a DWI defense, an attorney may endeavor to undermine the state’s evidence at multiple stages of the originating investigation. The officer’s actions before and after the arrest could be called into question, including the motivation for the initial traffic stop, the suspicion necessary to turn a traffic stop into a DWI investigation and his justification for the method used to preserve the alleged evidence. Evidentiary attributes such as these are the building blocks of the prosecution’s case; if a lawyer successfully invalidates any one of them, it’s possible for the charges to be reduced or even dismissed altogether.
Source: mywesttexas, “MPD: Man arrested on fourth DWI charge, tampering with evidence“, July 30, 2013