Billings, MT police office Samantha Puckett was caught speeding above the legal alcohol limit. She even admitted to being under the influence of alcohol. But after fighting the results of her breathalyzer test, she got them to call it a mistrial. How the hell?
Talk to the hung jury, as it’s all in the details. She was already going 45 in a 30 when another officer stopped her. She was also caught driving at .10% blood-alcohol content—that’s .02 above the legal limit. Sounds simple enough, even if you want to call it niggly on the alcohol thing—which is to say that’s a big difference.
But Paul Miranda, an Idaho-based chemist who was brought in as an expert witness, argued that the breathalyzer test could be compromised by a number of factors, including elevation and body temperature. He even cited his sister-in-law’s bachelorette party as evidence of real people getting real drunk. Heh. Been there. Taking all that into consideration, the judge deemed it a mistrial. It’s still too early for to know if city will try the case again.
Lesson learned. The next time you’re in trouble, give them the old razzle dazzle in the form of expert testimony. They’ll never get wise. [Billings Gazette]