A routine traffic stop has resulted in charges of driving under the influence and child endangerment for a 26-year-old Oklahoma City man. The incident took place on the morning of March 13 on SE 19th Street. After being taken into custody, the man was transported to an area detention facility.
Police say that they observed the man's car traveling at a speed above the posted limit on SE 15th Street in Oklahoma City at approximately 10 a.m. After pulling the vehicle over, officers say that they noticed an unrestrained child on the rear seat. Officers also claim that the vehicle contained several six packs of beer. Officers say that they suspected that the man had been driving while impaired because they detected the smell of alcohol on his breath.
Officers then asked the man to perform a number of field sobriety tests, and he was taken into custody after he allegedly performed poorly. The car had pulled over in front of the man's residence, and the boy placed into his mother's care. In addition to DUI and child endangerment charges, the man was cited for driving without a valid driver's license and transporting an open container of alcohol.
The penalties for DUI can be severe in Oklahoma, but prosecutors sometimes find it difficult to prove drunk driving charges beyond reasonable doubt. Police officers must work within boundaries established by the U.S. Constitution, and a criminal defense attorney may dispute the existence of probable cause for a traffic stop in cases like this one. While law enforcement agencies around the country rely on field sobriety tests to establish a driver's level of impairment, these tests may not always be reliable. An attorney may also seek to have drunk driving penalties reduced by pointing out mitigating factors to prosecutors. These factors could include the prior good behavior of their client as well as their genuine remorse.
Source: News9.com, "OKC Man Behind Bars For Driving Drunk With Child In The Car," Briauna Brown, March 20, 2015