STATE V. M.J.S. and M.J.S V. COMM’R OF PUBLIC SAFETY – Gross Misdemeanor DWI Test Refusal Dismissed; License Revocation Overturned
Last December a young police officer pulled over MJS for speeding. The officer claimed MJS’s eyes were bloodshot and watery, and ordered our client out of his vehicle to perform field sobriety tests and to take a preliminary breath test. The officer ultimately arrested our client and brought him to the local police station where he requested a breath test of our client. MJS refused to take the breath test. Because MJS refused the officer revoked his driver’s license for 1 year, and the state charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol and Gross Misdemeanor test refusal.
MJS hired our firm to fight on his behalf. We filed a lawsuit challenging the revocation and pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges. At a combined criminal and civil license revocation hearing Chuck Ramsay cross-examined the officer who arrested our client. Under Ramsay’s brutal cross examination the officer admitted that there was no odor of alcohol, MJS’s speech was normal and he did not behave like someone under the influence of alcohol. Eventually – despite his claim that he believed MJS was drunk – the officer admitted that he was improperly trained, and did not know whether he conducted the field sobriety tests consistent with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) course on DWI detection and standardized field sobriety testing (SFSTs).
Ultimately the Court found that the State failed to meet its burden to prove that there was probable cause to arrest our client for driving under the influence of alcohol, and dismissed the criminal charges. The Court also rescinded the license revocation.
We are grateful for this victory. This is a total win for our client!