Many people believe that it is impossible to beat a drunk driving criminal charge or the DWI driver’s license case. The public believes this for a number of reasons.
First, ill informed police and prosecutors believe DWI science is beyond reproach.
Second, attorneys who are ill prepared to handle complex DWI cases will often merely exacerbate the problem. In most cases they take their client’s money, then hold their hand as they plead them guilty.
Finally, the personal guilt that many people feel when charged with DUI crimes can be overwhelming, even if they thought that they were okay to get behind the wheel. They either hire a “dump truck lawyer” or plead guilty.
We’ve busted these DWI myths time after time. It takes hard work, dedication, and a heartfelt desire to vigorously defend our clients, but in the end, the effort pays off. Here’s a sampling of some of our more recent successes, accumulated over the last few weeks. These victories demonstrate our commitment to our clients and our never-ending crusade to debunk the myth that DWI’s are “unbeatable.”
“B Card Violation” – Judge Order Driver’s License Reinstated
The Department of Public Safety cancelled my client’s license to drive. They claimed that he was driving in violation of his restricted driver’s license (which prohibited him from consuming ANY alcohol while behind the wheel).
Our client was involved in an accident in Hennepin County. After reporting to the scene, the police officer claimed to smell an order of alcohol, said our client failed the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, and reported my client’s alcohol concentration was .06 on the preliminary breath test.
Many attorneys believe such “B card” cases are impossible to win – after all, the government just has to prove that our client had a drink (not that he was impaired). Despite the common misconception that this type of case is unwinnable, we won! We challenged the DPS’ evidence in court and convinced the judge to overturn the license cancellation and reinstate my client’s driver’s license.
DWI – Police Officer Coerced Driver’s “Consent” to take DWI alcohol test
In another case we challenged how the police officer obtained our client’s “consent” to a urine test. As we’ve blogged about before, we believe Minnesota’s implied consent law is unconstitutional as it unlawfully coerces all drivers to submit to DWI alcohol testing.
The judge disagreed with our argument, and we lost at the district court level. That didn’t slow us down – we simply took the fight to the next level, and we appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. After we submitted our appellate memorandum, we received a stunning letter from the government – they would agree to give our client his license back (a victory) if we withdrew the appeal. Thus, solely on the strength of our written memorandum (before we even had to argue the case in front of the appellate court) we won the case!
Prostitution Sting: Soliciting Prostitution – Case Dismissed
Our firm practices only criminal defense and related civil cases, e.g., automobile forfeitures. Although the majority of our case load is Minnesota DWI cases, we regularly represent people charged in other types of cases as well.
In Ramsey County, our client was arrested as a result of a St. Paul Police prostitution sting. He was charged with Loitering with Intent to Solicit Prostitution. After we obtained the police reports, video & audio recordings, and other documents, we started pushing the government hard – and were able to obtain a complete dismissal of the charges.
Fifth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct – Case Dismissed
In another criminal case in Ramsey County, the government charged our client with Fifth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. We challenged the criminal charges and showed the prosecutor the weaknesses in its case. Again, they dismissed all of the criminal charges.
DWI – Bad Seizure– Judge Orders License Reinstated after Urine Test
In a Scott County case, our client was charged with a DWI after he was arrested and given a urine test. The results were .11, well over the legal limit.
Through experience and a desire to fully defend our client, we were able to get the state to dismiss the DWI charges against our client. Shortly thereafter, we convinced the judge in the implied consent case to rule in our favor as well, and restore our client’s driver’s license.
The end result of this “unbeatable” DWI charge? All criminal charges were dismissed, and our client’s driving record doesn’t even reflect being pulled over for a DWI offense.
DWI – Judge Grants Motion for Post-Conviction Hearing
A judge granted our motion for a post-conviction hearing in our efforts to get a new trial in a highly publicized case that we took to trial more than four years ago. In that case, our client was charged with “test refusal” on the Intoxilyzer 5000 because she was unable to provide an “adequate sample.” She begged for the chance to take another test, but wasn’t allowed to. Because we had not yet uncovered the critical flaw in the Intoxilyzer that causes such errors, the jury found our client guilty of test refusal.
Since that trial, our client’s conviction was overturned by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and then reversed again by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Now, four years later, the trial court judge is granting us a new hearing based on the evidence we discovered concerning the faulty source code that runs Minnesota’s breath test machine, the Intoxilyzer 5000. The case is scheduled to be heard next month.
DWI – Judge Grants Motion for Unprecedented Access to the Source Code
In a civil license revocation case involving the same driver as above, a judge granted our motion for the source code to the Intoxilyzer 5000. However, this case is a good example of what can happen if you reach for the stars; we not only asked for the source code, but also demanded key pieces of source code information well beyond that which was provided in the federal court settlement last year. After listening to our arguments, the court granted our motion, further opening the door to prevent our client from being wrongfully charged as a “test refusal.”
DWI – .19 Blood Test Dismissed
DWI – .19 Breath Test Dismissed (Source Code)
DWI – .10 Breath Test Dismissed (Source Code)
“Can’t Win ‘em All . . . But Can’t Win Any If You Don’t Try”
A prosecutor in Ramsey County did manage to hand us our first DWI trial loss in years, in a case where the judge admitted into evidence a .14 urine test result. After careful consultation, our client decided that he wanted his case tried to a jury, despite the prejudicial test result. That jury ultimately found our client guilty.
Fortunately, the judge gave our client the exact same sentence he would have handed down had our client pled guilty without going to trial. As long as there is no disincentive to go to trial, we’ll do just that!
DWI –Just Reinstates License to Drive – Right to Counsel – .14 Breath Test
In a huge win in a difficult case, a Hennepin County judge ruled in our favor and reinstated our client’s driver’s license after an implied consent hearing (we had already beat the DWI charge on the criminal case). This was a difficult situation where our client was deaf, and had repeatedly begged the arresting officer for either an interpreter or the advice of a lawyer. Although the officer did make some attempts to communicate with our client, he did not know American Sign Language, and the court agreed that her right to counsel was not vindicated.
This is a huge win not only because our client got her driver’s license back, but because this case also resulted in the police department installing a TTY communication device, for hearing-impaired persons.
Finally, Chuck was named, “Geek of the week” by nationally renowned attorney, Justin McShane of Pennsylvania. The “Truth About Forensic Science”, McShane’s forensic blog, named Ramsay winner of his weekly forensic science quiz, aptly entitled, “Geek of the Week.”
Okay, so it is not a Nobel, but it's a good distraction for Chuck.