Breath test leads to drunk driving charges being dropped

When someone is charged with a crime in St. Paul, there must be sufficient evidence that supports the charge. While the evidentiary requirement is far lower than what is needed to convict someone, a grand jury cannot indict someone on a crime unless there is some form of credible evidence. If someone is charged with no evidence, however, a judge can dismiss the charges for lack of evidence, which is what a judge did after actor Jeffrey Wright’s breath test indicated he had no alcohol in his system following an arrest for drunk driving.

A judge found that there was insufficient evidence to support the charges stemming from an April arrest. Police officers stopped the actor, saying that he was speeding and driving erraticaly in the early morning hours. As they approached the actor’s vehicle, the officers claimed that they could smell alcohol on the 47 year old’s breath, which prompted them to administer field sobriety tests.

Whether it is because field sobriety tests are notoriously difficult, even for the sober, or because the actor was nervous after being pulled over and accused of drunk driving, he was unable to perform well on the field sobriety tests. He was then arrested and later charged with drunk driving. It was when he was brought back to the police station that he was given a breath test to confirm his alleged intoxication. Instead, the test found he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.00, meaning he had no alcohol in his system or the amount was so faint that it was undectable by the breath test.

Instead of letting him go and apologizing, police and prosecutors still sought criminal charges, forcing him to wait until just recently to appear in court and have the criminal charges thrown out.

Source: New York Daily News, “‘Hunger Games’ actor Jeffrey Wright’s drunk driving charges dropped due to lack of evidence,” Shayna Jacobs, June 25, 2013

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
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