In February of 2013, Caroline Callaway, a 24-year-old woman, was arrested on DWI charges in Austin, Texas and brought to the Travis County police station. In April of 2015, the case finally came to a conclusion, and Callaway was acquitted of all charges. But Callaway’s plight isn’t over; the young woman is pressing civil charges against both Austin and Travis County.
Pulled Over for Running Red Light, Arrested for DWI
On an early Monday morning in February of 2013, Callaway was pulled over by officer Patrick Oborski with the Austin police. Oborski told Callaway she was being pulled over for running two red lights. He then asked her to perform a field sobriety test. Callaway cooperated—the entire sobriety test was caught on video by a nearby dash cam. Callaway did well on the sobriety test, as can be seen in the film. Regardless, though, Oborski requested that she submit to a breathalyzer test.
Callaway Refuses Breathalyzer Test
Callaway refused to submit to the breathalyzer test. And, because the weekend she was arrested was a no-refusal weekend—a weekend in Texas where warrants are automatically granted to Texas police officers to perform breath and blood alcohol content level tests—Callaway was arrested and taken to the Travis County police station. There, she was told that she would have to submit to a blood test.
Blood Forcibly Drawn by Officers
Ms. Callaway refused to submit to a blood test. And so, officers forcibly drew her blood. According to officers, the only way that charged persons are ever made to submit to a blood draw are by applying force to pressure points at the mandible to yield compliance.
However, Callaway showed no signs of any pressure being applied to her mandible; rather, pictures after her arrest show bruises on her throat and neck. Callaway told the court that during the blood draw, she was having an anxiety attack. She also told the court that officers yanked her around, stepped on her arm to keep her still, strapped her in a restraint chair, and placed a bag over her head.
Court Cases Ends in Acquittal
The court case against Callaway ended in an acquittal, and all charges against the young woman were dropped on the basis that Callaway’s civil rights were violated. (As a note, the blood test revealed that her blood alcohol content level was .137 percent. Her attorney said this could have been contaminated because the officers did not seal the blood tubes properly). Callaway’s attorney, Daphne Silverman, said that she was relieved by how the case ended, and that the case was demonstrative of, “the dangers of permitting law enforcement to handle the process of evidence collection from our bodies.”
Civil Case Pending
Callaway’s arrest led her to file a civil lawsuit against Austin, Travis County, Austin police officers, county sheriff’s officers, and Pro-touch nurses based on a violation of her civil rights. The case is still pending.
Contact a DWI Attorney if You’ve Been Arrested in Houston
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a DWI in Houston and believe that your rights were violated, don’t hesitate to take legal action. At Johnson, Johnson & Baer, P.C., we are committed to making sure that your civil rights during a DWI case are defended. Call us today to learn more at (713) 222-0044.