Does DWI law give police too much leeway?
How your rights can and probably will be violated without a good DWI attorney.
Neither of these accusations was true, so I did some research. What I discovered was that almost all DWI arrests cite these observations. People don’t typically get bloodshot, watery eyes and an odor of alcohol from a couple of drinks, but these reports cited the same symptoms regardless of blood alcohol content.
In my case, I was lucky enough to have a photo of myself take just before the arrest. I was never charged with the DWI. My interest grew into an obsession and the incident catapulted my career in criminal defense because I could not stop asking myself, “Why are the police lying?”
A Bad Example
In 1983, the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the decision that an officer only needs to see one “objective indicator of intoxication” to establish that a person has been drinking (Holtz v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 340 N.W.2d 363, 365, Minn. App. 1983).
“Objective indicators” have included an admission of drinking, even if you only admit to having had a drink earlier in the day, slurred speech, trouble getting license and registration, bloodshot and watery eyes, and the smell of alcohol from the car or driver. An officer can arrest you for DWI if they observe (or claim to observe) just one of those indicators.
A New Trend
The problem is that officers cite these conditions every time because they know they can get away with it because defendants can rarely argue against it. Judge Randall of our Court of Appeals highlights this: “Any peace officer, deputy sheriff, policeman, state highway trooper, etc. is clothed with instant credibility the minute he takes the stand” (LORY v. STATE, No. C9-98-906, Minn. Ct. App. Nov. 10, 1998).
If smelling alcohol is enough, how can you prove the officer did not smell alcohol? The only way is to prove the officer is not credible, a challenging task. I became a DWI attorney because I created an innovative answer.
You Need an Innovative Minnesota DWI attorney.
I’ve worked tirelessly to design the most effective defense against this rampant issue that exists in almost every DWI arrest. I pull police reports of the arresting officers to show their use of these observations. If it’s excessive, I can argue that they are not credible and move to impeach them, eliminating those observations from your case.
I also look for the moment they expand the stop. If they’re not in a position to smell your breath and they claim odor as the reason for expanding the stop, I can argue that the observation is not credible. For the eyes, I use booking photos to show that they are clear or in a condition other than what the officer described.
If you thought your arrest was unfair, you need a DWI attorney who keeps up with DWI law, identifies trends, and finds a way to fight them. Attorneys who show up and make standard arguments rarely win, if ever. And why should they? They get paid anyway. You need someone who will undertake the necessary research and preparation. I am that person.