Racial Profiling Can Get Your DWI Charges Dropped [infographic]

When racial profiling is the basis of a DWI or any other type of arrest, charges for that offense may be dropped. Racial profiling is illegal and a violation of a person’s Constitutional rights.

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What is Racial Profiling?

Racial profiling involves stopping, searching, or arresting a person based solely on their race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or gender. It’s against the law and a violation of an individual’s Constitutional rights. Law enforcement is allowed to describe a crime suspect by his/her race and they can stop a person who matches that description. However, they cannot legally stop, search, detain or arrest a person simply because of his or her race.

DWI offenses often result in racial profiling complaints by drivers who are stopped at DWI checkpoints and roadblocks. African Americans, people of Latino heritage, and people of Middle Eastern descent commonly complain about getting singled out in traffic stops due to racial profiling. They claim they are often stopped, searched, arrested without a warrant, and taken to jail because of their race, while other drivers are quickly waived through checkpoints and roadblocks without getting checked by police officers.

In 2013, an Arizona black man, Jessie Thornton, was arrested and charged with a DWI in Phoenix, even though his breath-alcohol test showed no alcohol consumption. The charges were dismissed by the court two months later based on a blood alcohol reading of 0.00 at the time of the arrest and claims of racial profiling and harassment by local law enforcement. Thornton filed a $500,000 claim against the city for emotional distress and violation of his civil rights. Thornton claimed he had been stopped on 10 previous occasions and ticketed four different times by the same police department for traffic offenses that he did not commit.

A racially motivated DWI arrest can result in charges getting dropped. Police officers are required to have a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime was committed or that someone is in danger to make a traffic stop. If racial profiling is involved, the entire case can be thrown out of court. A DWI attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence. Racial profiling is illegal and can negate any evidence that is brought to prove guilt. In DWI offenses, if racial profiling is involved, the law is on the side of the driver.

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.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Involve a criminal appeal attorney soon after you learn the prosecution is appealing your sentence. Your attorney will walk you through the involving and confusing sentencing guidelines. An attorney's involvement will also help you develop a defense strategy for the appeal.