State v. T.A.W.


A park ranger caught T.A.W. firing a gun in the parking lot of a state park and confronted him. As T.A.W. fled the scene in his pickup, the ranger pointed out T.A.W.’s vehicle to an approaching deputy, and informed him of what had occurred. Deputies stopped T.A.W’s pick-up as he was driving away. They ultimately arrested him for Gross Misdemeanor DWI and Felony Firing a Weapon in a State Park. After the arrest, they discovered a gun in his vehicle. T.A.W.’s breath test result was .25. His driver’s license was revoked and his plates impounded for one year due to the high BAC. Fearing revocation of his license, display of so-called “Whiskey” plates, loss of his conceal and carry permit, and denial of entry into Canada, T.A.W. hired our firm to defend him. 

We filed a lawsuit challenging the plate impoundment and license revocation. We obtained voluminous discovery and carefully scrutinized hours of video recordings. At the hearing we argued, among other things, that the test was not administered in a scientifically valid and reliable manner. The judge agreed, and threw out the license revocation and plate impoundment. 

Meanwhile we litigated the felony gun and gross misdemeanor DWI charges in the criminal case. We consulted with an immigration attorney to help learn what charges would render T.A.W. inadmissible to entry into Canada. We filed challenges to the search and to the test result. Ultimately, the state agreed the search of the vehicle was unconstitutional and the breath test was not valid. The State agreed to dismiss the Felony Firing a Weapon in a State Park and all the DWI charges, and our client pleaded guilty to a simple public nuisance charge. There was no forfeiture of his pickup, his driver’s license and plates were reinstated, he didn’t lose his conceal and carry permit, and according to the immigration attorney, will be able to travel to Canada. T.A.W. was very happy with the results. 

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