'Insufficient evidence' leads to DWI charges being dropped against senior HPD officer, records show

Mycah Hatfield Image
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
DWI charge dropped against senior HPD officer, records show
The Harris County District Attorney's Office drops DWI charges filed against Houston Police Department's senior officer, 38-year-old Phillip Marquez.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Harris County District Attorney's Office dropped a DWI charge against a Houston police officer a week after he was arrested, court records show.

According to court documents, 38-year-old Phillip Marquez was charged after he blew almost double the legal limit in a breathalyzer.

The charge was reportedly dismissed on Friday for "insufficient evidence of defendant's guilt."

The DA's office said they could not prove that Marquez operated the motorcycle while he was intoxicated.

A passing motorist called the police after seeing the officer, who was off-duty at the time, on a stalled motorcycle.

When officers arrived, Marquez told them he had left his previous location six hours prior and did not elaborate on what happened in between, according to the DA's office.

Marquez was found to be on the motorcycle, but it was described as being "non-operational."

"What a police officer will know is that one of the elements of DWI is to prove you were actually operating the vehicle, so you might say something that shows that you're there, but maybe I wasn't operating," defense attorney Brian Foley, who formerly worked as a prosecutor in the vehicular crimes division, said. "That would be the first thing you would try to conceal."

Foley described the case as facing a "wheeling issue."

"Where somebody has been found on the side of the road, they're near a vehicle, it looks like they were driving, but nobody saw them driving, the government has to determine if they can prove the case through circumstantial evidence," Foley explained.

He said during his time as a prosecutor, he did see cases dismissed for wheeling issues but said it was rare.

"It's more likely to dismiss a case because you're not sure if they're intoxicated at the time of driving as opposed to not being sure that they did drive," Foley said.

Marquez is a senior officer with HPD and has been with the department for more than 15 years.

HPD relieved him of duty immediately following his arrest and confirmed Monday that his status remains the same while an internal affairs investigation continues.

His attorney could not be reached for comment.

Phillip Marquez Jr., 38, was identified as a senior police officer who was charged with driving while intoxicated.
Harris County Jail

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