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Man Arrested for Drunk Driving Had 0.00 BAC

Despite his blood alcohol level being the same as Bluto's grade point average in Animal House, Larry Davis spent a night in jail and waited over a year for his trial.


A simulation of Davis' test. Shutterstock

By Bryan Le


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Surprising as it may seem, an Austin, TX man spent New Year's Day 2013 in jail and waited over a year for his DWI trial despite having a BAC of 0.00.

On January 1, 2013, Larry Davis was pulled over after he ran a red light. The arresting officer suspected drunk driving and arrested Davis, despite an insistence that he'd only had one drink. Davis subsequently blew a stone-cold sober 0.00 on a breathalyzer. Later testing for seven different types of drugs also came up negative.

"I told them I would take a blood sample as well, just to prove that I didn't have anything in my system," Davis said.

Davis' lawyer, Daniel Betts, was equally surprised at the lack of evidence for Davis' outstanding DWI charge. "My reaction was just shock that this happened," Betts said.

Even more surprising is that this wasn't the first time such a thing has happened. Since 2011, the county's courts have thrown out 30 percent of all drunk driving cases because the evidence presented was too weak. Despite such a high rate of dismissals, the Austin Police Department plans to stick with their take-no-chances policy.

"If there is someone who is impaired, we don't want them driving. We need to get them off the road, so that was probably his mindset," said APD Commander David Mahoney. But he admits Davis' case was unusual, since Austin police almost never bring in a driver who blows a 0.00 and shows nothing on a blood test.

Davis and his lawyer plan on filing a grievance case against the arresting officer.

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