Prosecutors insist on trying man on 26-year-old charge

People in Minneapolis have certainly heard of cold cases, but many likely assume that cold cases involve murder, rape or some kind of other crime that has a victim and carries a certain degree of grief. Something like driving under the influence of alcohol, especially if it did not include a car accident or injuries, seems somewhat silly to prosecute years after it allegedly happened.

In addition, pursuing a charge of drunk driving well after it supposedly happened is unfair to the defendant. While police reports with results of field sobriety tests and breath or blood tests will still be accessible 10, 20 or 30 years later, witnesses for the defense that could contradict a police report may not remember important details or there may be no way of contacting anyone who knew anything about the incident after a while. Regardless, a police report that was written at the time of the incident may carry more weight than recollected witness testimony anyways.

This is the situation that is facing one man who is being prosecuted on a nearly-26-year charge of drunk driving. When he was 21 years old, in 1987, the young man was found stumbling in a parking lot by police who were reporting to the scene of an accident. The responding officer wrote that he found the young man in an apartment building’s parking complex, smelling of alcohol and with slurred speech. What the officer did not find, however, was the young man driving, nor was he even in a vehicle. The officer assumed, however, that he had been driving because was in a parking lot. When tested, the reports claim he was above the legal limit for alcohol.

To this day, the now-46 year old insists he had not been driving and had not been intoxicated.

What makes this case particularly interesting, however, is that since the time he was originally charged with drunk driving, the man believed his charges had been dropped and he moved abroad. Since his move, he has returned to the United States and has even renewed his license several times, never once having a problem until recently. Now, since the arrest warrant and drunk driving charge have come to light, the prosecutor insists on following through on the charges.

Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel, “Letter from defendant revives 1987 DUI case in Broward,” Rafael Olmeda, March 18, 2013

Our law firm has worked with many people who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. To find out more about our work and seriousness of these crimes, please visit our website.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-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. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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