FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)- A DWI suspect was acquitted by a jury Friday (March 20) after appealing a Fayetteville District Court ruling in his case.
Christopher Allen Baker, 39, of Frisco, Texas, was pulled over by a Fayetteville police officer on November 24, 2013 for driving left of center on Lafayette Avenue, according to an arrest report.
The report states Baker had glassy, blood-shot eyes, slurred speech, and an odor of intoxicants about his person. It also states the suspect admitted to drinking alcohol and performed poorly on the standard field sobriety tests. He was arrested on several charges including DWI, according to the report.
A district court judge ruled on Baker’s case on July 17, 2014, but Baker appealed it in Washington County Circuit Court, according to his attorneys.
Baker’s new trial started on Thursday (March 19) and the jury acquitted him on the DWI charge the next day. His defense attorneys showed the jury a video of Baker’s arrest saying their client never showed any signs of being intoxicated.
The defense also subpoenaed Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor to testify on Thursday about a federal grant program called the Selective Enforcement Traffic Program or STEP.
Officers who are part of STEP are expected to make two traffic stops an hour and one DWI arrest every eight hours shift. Tabor said that’s a performance expectation, but not a quota.
The chief said there are no repercussions for officers who don’t meet the STEP goals. He also said the STEP program encourages some of his officers to keep their eyes out for DWI offenders.
According to Baker’s attorney, the officer who arrested him in 2013 was in the STEP program.
The jury acquitted Baker on the DWI charges, but found him guilty of driving left of center and violation of implied consent for refusing to submit to a test to determine his blood alcohol content. Both charges are misdemeanors and Baker’s attorneys aid he’ll have to pay a $150 fine.