No matter the case, there is generally hope when it comes to a DUI defense. Even if the suspect is a supposed repeat offender, he deserves a vigilant defense against the limitations that a drunk driving conviction can place on his life.
One Minnesota man recently exercised his persistence in defending his name by appealing a DWI conviction – his 12th conviction. According to reports, however, persistence didn’t pay off this time around. The man remains to be found guilty of drunk driving and driving with a revoked license.
The charges against the Minnesota man stem from a late-night incident during which an officer claims he caught the appellant sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle with its lights on in a parking lot. The officer claims there was sufficient reason to put the suspect through sobriety tests, which he reportedly failed. He was charged with and later convicted of two felony DWI counts. He also had a revoked license at the time and was, therefore, convicted of driving after cancellation (DAC.)
His appeal was based on the argument that the prosecution had misled the jury in regards to reasonable doubt. He and his defense attorney also argued that the officer couldn’t prove that the appellant had operated the motor vehicle on the night he was arrested.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court and affirmed its convictions against the appellant. The court believes that the jury understood the general idea of reasonable doubt in regards to its verdict and that the prosecution didn’t taint the outcome of the case.
As for whether it could be proven that the appellant was drinking and driving on the night of the arrest, the court ruled that the following points supported the guilty verdict: the appellant was behind the wheel of the car; the key was reportedly in the ignition; the headlights were on; he reportedly didn’t tell the officer during the time of the arrest that he hadn’t been driving.
With the guilty convictions intact, the Minnesota man will serve his sentence of 79 months in prison, including 365 days for the DAC conviction.
Leagle: “State v. Butcher,” Aug. 15, 2011