Askanas wins District Court trial
Attorney Isabelle Askanas won a trial June 2 in Clark County District Court for a client charged with physical control, a gross misdemeanor.
A conviction for physical control carries the same penalty as a DUI, including a mandatory minimum two-day jail sentence.
Her client was cited by a Clark County Sheriff’s deputy about 3 a.m. on May 10, 2020. Her client had been on the way home from a friend’s house when he lost control of his vehicle and struck a curb, ending up in the middle of the road with a flat tire.
A responding officer said when he contacted Askanas’ client he was slurring his speech, had bloodshot watery eyes and smelled of intoxicants.
The client agreed to perform field sobriety tests and had difficulty keeping his balance, an officer wrote in his report. The client refused to take a preliminary breath test, admitted to drinking three or four beers earlier in the evening and told an officer, “I shouldn’t have drove drunk.”
Those facts were all heard by the jury during the one-day trial.
Askansas questioned officers why they didn’t ask if her client had been injured when his vehicle struck a curb before asking him to perform field sobriety tests, or if he could have been rattled by the accident and that was one reason he didn’t pass all the tests.
One officer didn’t remember much at all about the incident, including the client’s name, even though officers can review their reports before they take the stand.
Askansas emphasized those shortcomings in her closing arguments. The six-member jury deliberated less than an hour before unanimously deciding to acquit.
Her client, who has no criminal history, did not testify.