Last week I tried a roadblock case in Howard County. The prosecutor thought I was crazy to try it and told me I would get a worse result than the plea that was offered, but I thought there were solid issues regarding the roadblock as well as factually regarding the DUI. Although I did not knock out the roadblock on procedural grounds, I think there is a problem with where they set it up. The “escape route” is rather difficult and generally leads back to the road where the roadblock is set up. I don’t think most people realize they can u-turn and avoid it because there are no signs to that effect. Police are waiting to follow those who seek to avoid it to look for any traffic violation to justify stopping the “escapee.”
My client refused all testing except the HGN. He spent 30 minutes with the police officer and exhibited no failure of normal coordination. He initially refused the breath test and then changed his mind, but wanted it administered at the scene- an option that was not available. The State argued the refusals of SFSTs and the breath test as satisfactory evidence of DUI or DWI but the judge was not buying it. There was just no evidence of any failure of motor coordination based upon how he drove and parked his car and how he walked and stood with the officer. In the end my decision was correct and the judge would NEVER have punished my client for this trial.