Recently in Austin, a local radio personality was stopped for speeding and subsequently arrested for DWI. Jeff Ward was pulled over Thursday evening after emceeing an eventat thedowntown Austin Hilton. He admitted to having one beer at the event, and was asked to perform a Field Sobriety Test to determine if he was driving while intoxicated. After performing the tests, he was asked to take a DWI breath test, which he refused (these Austin criminal defense lawyers advise you to do the same). Based on the officer’s observations and judgment,the Austin Police Officer arrested Mr. Ward for DWI and took him to jail. Again, this is Thursday evening.
Now here’s the best part. You can see the video here Austin DWI video.
So Ward gets a trip to jail, but as of Monday (four days later) his case is dismissed. Actually more than that, the Austin County Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the case, saying they believed there was insufficient evidence to support the charge. This is after Austin Police Chief Acevedo called the County Attorney’s office to express some concerns about the evidence in the case. Seriously? There must be more to it? Well, I suppose that’s true…
According to the Statesman,as Mr. Ward is being arrested, on the scene of the stop, he has his fiancee call Chief Acevedo directly on the cell phone, and then Ward called Acevedo himself from the jail booking facility. The two are familiar because Chief Acevedo is a frequent guest on Ward’s radio show. He said Acevedo scolded him for not taking a breath test, but Acevedo himself later called Travis County Attorney David Escamilla to point out weaknesses in the case, because it was “high profile.” Well, done, and done… everybody go home, nothing to see here. While you’re chewing on all this, you should also review the Statesman article about high rates of DWI dismissals in Travis County. I’ll have more posts in the near future about some of the issues raised by Ward’s not-so-unique experience of being arrested on little evidence, as well as his very unique experience of having the police chief help dispose of his case.