Charles Ramsay

Charles Ramsay

Founding Partner

From the Blog Balancing Beam Fail: Judge Finds Minnesota Breath Tests Unreliable and Inadmissible Under Rules of Evidence, But Admissible Nonetheless "He's Not Allowed Any Surprises." Brady Violations and . . . Judge Throws Out Breath Test Results - Finds Results Are Not Scientific Metrology 3.0: Science as Your Best Defense Minnesota's Prescription DWI Drug Laws Can Snare Even Innocent Conduct Sun Still Came Up the Next Day Beating Old Urine and Blood DWIs: Let's Get Retro! Science As Your Best Defense: Landing the Right Attorney To Defend Your DWI Working With The Best DWI Lawyers In Minnesota: My Thanksgiving Gratitude Finding A Qualified DWI Defense Attorney In Minnesota Beating Minnesota DWIs: The Physical Inability Defense Defending Minnesota Ignition Interlock Violations Victory At The Court of Appeals: Another License Saved Three Straight Victories At The Court Of Appeals More Than One Way To Skin A Cat Should I Hire A Minnesota DWI Lawyer? Recent Results Show the Benefits of Being Represented By Ramsay Law Firm Minnesota DWI Refusals: You Are Hereby Deemed a "Refuser" Sometimes An Accident Is Just An Accident Minnesota's DWI Forfeiture Laws To Become A Little More Fair Can the Prosecution Withhold Evidence of Innocence? It Is Better To Have "Lived Usefully" Than To Have "Died Rich." Tell Me The Odds: Successfully Defending A DWI Case in Minnesota Stuffing or Cuffing? Avoid Jail Over The Thanksgiving Holiday Tell Me The Odds: What Does It Take To Win A DWI Case Tell Me The Odds: What Does It Take To Win A DWI Case (II) Roadmap to Victory (2017 in Review) Roadmap to Victory: Noticing When Something Is Missing Roadmap to Victory: When Success Is Hiding In Plain Sight Roadmap to Victory: Solving a Longstanding Problem Keeping Your Record Clean From The Consequences Of A DWI Legislative Update 2018 Minnesota's DWI Forfeiture Law Struck Down As Unconstitutional It's Coming -- MSCJ 2018 Annual DWI Seminar Minnesota Supreme Court Issues Opinions In Morehouse and Johnson Gideon's Trumpet Silenced: Minnesota Supreme Court Issues State v. Hunn Snowmobiling and Boating While Intoxicated Now Causes Loss Of Driver's License in Minnesota "I Was Once Your Client" Ion Scanners: What You Need To Know Another Blow To Forfeiture Laws Victory Lap: Leading the Pack and Finishing Strong How To Avoid A DWI Arrest On Thanksgiving Weekend In Minnesota Victory Lap: Beating Breath Tests That Are Over Twice the Legal Limit Pushing Back Against the Concept of "As Measured Within Two Hours of Driving" When Defending DWI Cases in Minnesota Minnesota DWI - 2018 Year in Review Travel Into Canada With a DWI Conviction Just Got Much Harder Olson Forfeiture Case To Be Released By the Minnesota Supreme Court Wednesday Minnesota's DWI Forfeiture Law Found Unconstitutional 2019 MSCJ Annual DWI Seminar Chuck Ramsay Discusses Noor Verdict With Star Tribune DataMaster DMT Digging Its Own Dangerous Hole MINNESOTA BREATH TESTING SOFTWARE: SECRET SCIENCE MINNESOTA BREATH TESTING SOFTWARE: "NOTHING TO SEE HERE!" MINNESOTA BREATH TESTING SOFTWARE: DEJA VU (Don't) Show Me Your Papers The Case Against the Minnesota Supreme Court Faulty Forensic Science: the Danger of PseudoScience in Courtrooms Minnesota Celebrates Birthday By Constitutionally Protecting Travelers and Campers Confronting COVID: Witness Testimony During a Pandemic The Ongoing War on Science – Stifling Progress What Will We Sacrifice? Criminal Justice in the Biden Era Start Me Up! The Cat Filter Hearing and the Right to Confront Your Accusers Restorative Justice for Minnesota’s Veterans Impaired Driving, Marijuana, and You Three Beers, Two Shots, and Retrograde Extrapolation Facing Drug-related DWI Charges? Your Prescription Might Not Matter Are Stoned Drivers Safe Drivers? No More Whiskey Plates! More Ignition Interlock! Minnesota Retires Whiskey Plates -- IMMEDIATELY! BREAKING NEWS: MINNESOTA MAY ONCE AGAIN BE USING BLOOD TEST KITS UNDER A MANUFACTURER RECALL Doctors of DWI Defense? Grateful for More Source Code Victories! Can Minnesota Revoke or Suspend My Driver's License for a Wisconsin OWI? Minnesota Ignition Interlock and Out-of-State DWI? Hay You, Do You Need(le) A Lawyer? Jail Time for First Time DWI: Inflation Strikes Minnesota Legal Pot Sneaks Into Minnesota New Inside Information Renders Minnesota Breath Test Results Invalid Ramsay Law Racks Up Another Source Code Victory! BCA's Breath Alcohol Machine Should've Never Been Approved Fuel Cell Problems Part II Ramsay Law Exposes New Levels of State Corruption This Year Out for Blood - Our Latest Jury Trial Victory When is a Refusal Not a Refusal? The State's Blood Alcohol Lab Made a HUGE Mistake The Fundamental Unfairness in Breath Alcohol Testing When is a 0.08, not a 0.08? The State Doesn't Properly Report Alcohol Measurements The BCA Still Hasn't Fixed Their Acetone Problem Cannabis Legalization Bill Includes a Mega Hit of Pseudoscience The Unfair Impact of Volume on Breath Alcohol BCA Scientists Can't Decide If Interfering Substances Affect a Breath Test An Unscrupulous State Alcohol Lab is a Serious Threat to Public Safety Interfering Subtances Can Push You Over the Legal Limit BCA Breath Alcohol Lab is Mislabeling Controls on the DMT! Another Victory for Source Code!! State Crime Lab Hides Exculpatory Information Blood Clots Cause Inaccurate Blood Alcohol Tests : A Win for Ramsay Law Two Massive Wins for Ramsay Law Last Week The State's Roadside Breath Machines Are Wildly Inaccurate The Injustice of the 2100 Blood/Breath Conversion Factor A Major Victory to Ring in the New Year State of MN Rolls Out Unscientific Oral Fluid Testing Devices Cops Unleash Mini-Volcano During Routine Drug Test, Raising Eyebrows and Roofs How to Beat a Breath Alcohol Test in Minnesota The Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Scam Accuracy is Everything: Why You Need a DWI Attorney When Every Breath Counts The Murky Legality of Breathalyzers in Post-Tanksley Minnesota A Huge Win for Ramsay: The State Must Adjust for Bias Hospital Blood Draws Are Unreliable in DWI Cases
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Starting in 1995, after his honorable discharge from service in the United States Army, Charles (“Chuck”) Ramsay founded Ramsay Law Firm . . . and has been practicing criminal defense ever since. Chuck has built a nation-wide reputation as the “go-to” guy for defending DWI cases, and along the way gained acquittals in every type of case imaginable (and in non-DWI cases, up to and including First Degree Murder). While he still handles the occasional non-DWI case, Chuck’s passion rests in defending anyone charged with a DWI. A well-known trial attorney, Chuck has brought more DWI cases to trial than most defense attorneys have even taken on. And his passion extends beyond trial; Chuck has appeared before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court in approximately 75 cases.

Chuck’s focus on DWI defense was no accident – he dedicated his career to defending DWI cases because it’s the type of case he loves and the type of people he wants to help. This is partly due to the ever-changing nature of DWI defense; constitutional challenges can be raised in most cases, and the scientific basis for breath, blood, and urine tests provide endless opportunities to win cases for his clients. When Chuck decided to focus his practice on DWI defense, he started by crafting the motto “Every DWI Case Is Winnable,” and then set out to prove himself right. And over the last two decades, thousands of Chuck’s prior clients have ended their cases by saying “Thank you, Chuck” because of the energy and effort he always puts into proving his motto is the only way to treat a DWI charge.

Chuck is on the top of any “who’s who” list of defense attorneys in Minnesota, and for many good reasons. He pioneered number of defenses in Minnesota, including now-established challenges to faulty eyewitness identification, false confessions, and the right of a defendant to present alternative suspects to a jury. Chuck was also the driving force behind challenges to Minnesota’s old breath test machine (the Intoxilyer 5000EN) and even went to federal court to force the manufacturer to release their software’s source code. Chuck’s efforts as a member of the Source Code Trial Team and his personal efforts in federal court finally led Minnesota to abandon the Intoxilyzer entirely and admit that their machine erroneously treated valid breath samples as “refusals” due to errors in the source code.

If you scroll down, you’ll see a select list of Chuck’s almost-too-numerous-to-count awards and credentials. That list isn’t there to impress you; it’s there to prove to you just how passionate Chuck really is about defending DWI cases. Any attorney can claim they want to help someone charged with a DWI . . . but Chuck is one of the only attorneys in Minnesota to graduate from the prestigious Robert F. Borkenstein Course on Alcohol and Highway Safety at the University of Indiana (a course for prosecutors and law enforcement agents that no longer even permits defense attorneys to attend). Any attorney can claim they understand DWI defense . . . but Chuck is currently the only Minnesota attorney who is actively a faculty member for the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), presenting cutting edge DWI defense strategies to a nationwide audience of defense attorneys. Any attorney can claim that they are willing to give their best effort when they represent you . . . but Chuck is the only attorney in Minnesota to have earned the American Chemical Society “Forensic Lawyer-Scientist” designation (ACS-CHAL), meaning that when Chuck is in a courtroom, he understands how a breath, blood, or urine test works better than anyone else in the area. And that includes the State’s own expert witnesses.

From forcing the State of Minnesota to stop using their old Intoxilyzer breath test machine, to forcing the State of Minnesota to start reporting how inaccurate their new DataMaster breath test machine is, Chuck’s passion for DWI defense is how he was able to build the successful firm that he did, and why his clients get the results that they do. 


Areas of practice


Bachelor of Arts, University of Wisonsin, Madison, WI.

Juris Doctor, William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN.

Graduate, Robert F. Borkenstein Course on Alcohol and Highway Safety at the University of Indiana

Representative Cases

D.A.B. v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, Dakota County District Court, 2016. Chuck convinced the judge to throw out a 0.08 breath alcohol test because of problems with the "bias" of the machine used to test the breath sample. This resulted in the return of his client's driver's license.

C.B.S. v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, Itasca County District Court, 2016. Chuck convinced the judge to throw out a 0.15 blood alcohol test because it was taken just over 2 hours after driving. By knowing the scientific principles of "retrograde extrapolation" better than the State's own expert witness, Chuck kept this blood test away from the eyes of the jury and his client's charges were dismissed.

K.M.M. v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, Dakota County District Court, 2016. Chuck convinced the judge to throw out an alleged violation of the Ignition Interlock program after highlighting the numerous problems and false positive tests that were being produced by the ignition interlock device. 

Honors & Awards

1999 First of many selections as "Super Lawyer" as recognized by Super Lawyers

2007 First of several selections as "Top 40 Criminal Defense Attorneys" as recognized by Minnesota Law & Politics (acquired by Thompson Reuters / Super Lawyers in 2010)

2011 "Attorney of the Year" as recognized by Minnesota Lawyer

2016 Second selection as "Attorney of the Year" as recognized by Minnesota Lawyer. As this was Chuck's second selection as Attorney of the Year, he is also now included in the "Circle of Excellence."


Founding MemberDUI Defense Lawyers Association (DUIDLA), a non-profit, nationwide bar association dedicated to improving the trial and advocacy skills of defense attorneys who focus on alcohol and drug related driving offenses.

FacultyNational College for DUI Defense (NCDD, a professional, non-profit corporation dedicated to the improvement of the criminal defense bar, and to the dissemination of information to the public about DUI Defense Law as an area of law practice.

MemberMinnesota Society for Criminal Justice (MSCJ), an exclusive invite-only college of approximately 50 Minnesota defense attorneys, gathered together to "promote justice by supporting changes in the law - both legislatively and through litigation in the courts."

Scholarly Lectures & Publications

Minnesota DWI Deskbook, 3rd Ed., Minnesota CLE, 2013. Touted as the "complete and authoritative resource for DWI practice in Minnesota."

Understanding DUI Scientific Evidence, 2014 ed.: Leading Lawyers and Scientists on Recent Developments in Forensic Science, Understanding Chemical and Field Sobriety Testing Procedures, and Analyzing the Validity of Test Results, Aspatore (Thomson Reuters business), 2014.

Understanding DUI Scientific Evidence, 2015-2016 ed.: Leading Lawyers and Scientists on Recent Developments in Forensic Science, Understanding Chemical and Field Sobriety Testing Procedures, and Analyzing the Validity of Test Results, Aspatore (Thomson Reuters business), 2015.

National College for DUI Defense, 2015. Science as Your Best Defense II: Learning to Teach Judges and Juries the Science and Law of Blood and Breath Alcohol Testing.

50th Annual Criminal Justice Institute, 2015. Uncertainty of Measurement: Bringing Hard Science Into Minnesota's DWI Test Reporting Process. 

50th Annual Criminal Justice Institute, 2015. Uncertainty of Measurement: Bringing Hard Science Into Minnesota's DWI Test Reporting Process. 

51st Annual Criminal Justice Institute, 2016. Applying Metrology To the Limitations of Breath Testing.

51st Annual Criminal Justice Institute, 2016. Understanding Retrograde Extrapolation in DWI Prosecutions.

The Innocence Project of Minnesota, 2015. Uncertainty of Measurement: When "Guilty" Is Anything But Guilty.

Annual DWI Seminar, Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, 2014. Uncertainty of Measurement in Breath Alcohol Testing.

Annual DWI Seminar, Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, 2015. Winning Against the DataMaster DMT With An Expert Witness.

Annual DWI Seminar, Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, 2016. Metrology and Reliability of Breath Testing.

Minnesota DWI Deskbook Webcast, 2018. Chemical Testing.

Iowa Association of Justice - Criminal Defense & Family Law Trial Lawyers Conference, 2018. Blood and Breath Testing Part II

Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, 2018. Using Metrology to Expose the Scientific Limitations of Chemical Testing.

Annual DWI Seminar, Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, 2018. 10 Tips for Successful DWI Trial. 

Hennepin County Public Defenders Office, 2018. Challenging the Data Master Breath Test Results in Trial.