Maybe. It can be done, and I’ve done it. What I do is challenge every step of the cops’ process.
Was There Reason for the Stop?
First, was there a legitimate reason for pulling you over? Sometimes, the cops will roll the dice and pull someone over because of the part of town he or she is in, the hour of the night, the type of vehicle, or simple whim. If the cops don’t have “reasonable, articulable suspicion” for the stop, however, and your attorney challenges the stop properly, the case is dismissed and none of the evidence of slurred speech or bloodshot eyes will ever be heard.
Was There Probable Cause for the Arrest?
Next the police have to show “probable cause” to arrest you or to cite you with DWI. After the stop, the police will use their observations (your behavior, blood-shot eyes, slurred speech, odor of alcohol or other drugs), the results of the field-sobriety tests, and other variables that the cop can perceive without searching you or your car. What the cop presents as probable cause has to reach the constitutional standards as defined in United States and Minnesota law. If your attorney challenges the probable cause, and PC is found wanting, your case can be dismissed.
What’s Their Evidence?
If you have been arrested for a DWI, be sure to get a second, independent test. The police will give you a phone book or other resources – it depends on the police and the police station. Be sure to look up an independent crime lab and get an independent test of your urine or blood immediately. I have no financial or other affiliation with them, but the best-respected independent lab, certified by the relevant Minnesota statute to provide an independent test is:
Additional Testing, Inc.
Phone: (612) 333-3226
Toll Free: (877) 333-3226
All three types of tests to determine someone’s intoxication, blood, breath, and urine, are fallible.
- Blood. In the case of blood tests, as well as the others, the first question is the crime lab’s procedures, whether they are valid and whether they are followed. Badly flawed crime lab techniques have recently come to light in Florida (crime lab technician John Fitzpatrick switched DNA samples and changed data); Oklahoma (police technician Joyce Gilchrist’s shoddy work routinely put innocent people in prison for falsifying lab results); as well as Illinois, California, New York, and Texas. It was just revealed that Indiana’s crime lab gave inaccurate test results for one in three cocaine tests for years.
- Urine. Minnesota is the only state that tests urine using a “first-void” protocol. Minnesota tests a first-void urine sample, urine collected from a driver upon arrest without having the driver void his or her bladder before providing a sample for testing. As a result, the urine tested is the urine pooled in the driver’s urinary bladder since the driver last voided (urinated) which does not accurately reflect the alcohol concentration in the driver’s blood at the time the alleged offense occurred. See this and this for further information on urine tests (link). I will always challenge the accuracy of a first-void urine test.
- Breath. The state of Minnesota’s alcohol breath tests is in flux. For years, many of us have argued that the machine the Minnesota police and highway patrol generally use, the Intoxylizer 5000 EN is unreliable and gives inaccurate results. I am a member of the Minnesota Source Code Coalition.
There are many ways to challenge a DWI charge and win. I will use all of them to help you defend your case.