In McAllen, Texas, a state appeals court judge has been arrested for drunken driving following a traffic stop this weekend. After failing field sobriety tests and admitting to drinking five beers beforehand, the judge was charged with a DUI was subsequently released from police custody on a $2,000 bail posting based on her personal recognizance.
Judge Nora Longoria was originally pulled over for speeding, after a police officer caught her doing 69mph in a 55mph zone. According to Texas Lawyer, the police officer Longoria stated that she was driving home from having “dinner with friends” and proceeded to tell the officer that she was a judge, but the officers asked her to exit the vehicle due to the smell of alcohol on her breath, had bloodshot, glossy eyes and slurred speech during the conversation. After exiting the vehicle, Longoria failed the field sobriety tests as she had trouble with her balance and continuously had to use her arms for balance throughout the walk-and-turn and one-leg-stand tests.
The officer advised Longoria that she was being arrested for driving while intoxicated, which is when Longoria became emotional and refused to be handcuffed. Longoria stated the officer was “ruining her life” and that she had “worked hard for 25 years to be where I am today”. The officer told Longoria she would be charged with resisting arrest if she did not comply with the officer’s requests but Longoria was further uncooperative and asked to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor allowed the judge to be handcuffed with her hands in front of her to put her at ease and she was eventually taken back to the station, where she admitted to drinking 5 beers that night and refused additional procedures, including an interview and the breathalyzer test. Longoria was later released from jail after posting a $2,000 personal recognizance bond.
Those facing a DUI commonly experience Judge Longoria’s concerns about the impact of her arrest. A DUI jeopardizes not only the driver’s career, but it can also affect their social ties and overall reputation. Most people in Judge Longoria’s situation would feel hesitant to fight their case, as they would believe that statements about how much alcohol they had to drink would be detrimental to their case and that failed field sobriety tests result in an instant guilty verdict. However, these assumptions are false and it is important to understand that during trial, DUI attorney can file the relevant motions to dismiss certain evidence, such as admissions of guilt or field sobriety test results, from trial. This case appears very defensible and it shows that it is easy to get arrested, but securing a conviction at trial is a much higher standard.