A Major Victory to Ring in the New Year

Posted On January 01, 2024 Charles Ramsay

Imagine living under the shadow of a wrongful conviction, facing years in prison for a crime you didn't fully commit. That was the harsh reality for our client, a man with multiple health conditions who found himself charged with refusing a breath alcohol test after a DWI arrest.

He knew he wasn't "refusing." He tried. He truly did. But his atrial fibrillation, shortness of breath, and other medical issues made the required 1.5-liter breath sample practically impossible. His previous lawyer, unfortunately, advised a plea deal, landing him years in prison.

That's where Ramsay Law stepped in. We saw the injustice, the missed opportunities, and the potential for a drastically different outcome.

Last week, the judge vacated the conviction and ordered our client’s immediate release!


Our client was charged with refusing to take a breath alcohol test despite giving his best effort. He had multiple health challenges that prevented him from giving an adequate sample.

His health conditions included:

  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Shortness of breath (due to atrial fibrillation)
  • Scarring of the lungs
  • GERD

The state requires anyone who takes a breath alcohol test to provide a minimum of 1.5 liters of breath into its machine, but studies show that not everyone can provide this amount of breath. One study showed that 1 in every 186 men cannot provide that amount of breath. And the numbers get worse as you age.


We filed a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, challenging his conviction based on ineffective assistance of counsel. His prior lawyer advised that he take a plea deal, which landed him years in prison!

We took a fresh look at the evidence and found that our client was providing good-faith efforts into the state’s breath machine. 

At one point, he even told the officer: “I tried my best,” and “I have a lotta health issues.”

But that didn’t stop the officer from immediately charging our client with a refusal.

Based on his medical history, we knew there was more to the case. We hired former state breath alcohol scientist Aaron Olson to look at the case.

Mr. Olson analyzed the granular data from the breath alcohol machine and found that he blew 1.25 liters over the course of 17 seconds! That kind of breath isn’t coming from someone who is “refusing” to blow. That shows a determined, focused effort to provide an adequate sample.

We filed a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief to withdraw the plea to get our client out of prison. We included affidavits from our expert and others to persuade the Court to give us an evidentiary hearing – the first step in securing his release. 

The state and the judge agreed our client deserved a court hearing to show his plea was a “manifest injustice.” 


After taking the bench, the judge questioned the attorneys and contemplated the case. Instead of having a hearing and taking testimony, she abruptly announced that she was vacating the conviction and ordering his immediate release!

Our client went home to his family for Christmas! 


This wasn't just about winning a case but about restoring our client’s liberty. We are grateful to the prosecutor who acknowledged the strength of our evidence, the former attorney who owned his mistake, and most importantly, the judge who dared to see beyond the surface and deliver justice.

This victory stands as a testament to the power of dedicated legal representation, scientific expertise, and unwavering belief in the truth. It's a beacon of hope for those facing similar struggles, a reminder that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, a second chance can be within reach.

We were lucky to have a great team, too – not just the diligent, creative lawyers and legal assistants at the firm, but Aaron Olson, a brilliant breath test expert; and Jay Adkins, a Rochester lawyer (and former Ramsay Law Firm Attorney) who signed an affidavit attesting to the DWI defenses that should have been investigated here.


As grateful as we are for the outcome, there is an important lesson for others charged with a serious DWI, Criminal Vehicular Operation, or Criminal Vehicular homicide. Our client could have avoided prison had he hired us immediately. There is nothing as expensive as a cheap lawyer. 


At Ramsay Law, we understand the complexities of DWI cases, the intersection of law and science, and the immense human consequences of wrongful convictions. We're here to fight for those who need it most, to ensure no stone goes unturned in the pursuit of justice.


Don't let the heavy hand of the state dictate your future. If you face a DWI charge, trust the experience and expertise of Ramsay Law. 


We're the only law firm in the state with a lawyer board-certified in DWI law (recognized by the ABA, not the MSBA), dedicated to finding every possible avenue to protect your rights and secure your freedom.

Contact Ramsay Law today at 651-604-0000 and let us fight for your second chance.


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