DWI Dismissed: A Case of Mistaken Observations
It has been a successful and busy start to 2020 for the criminal defense practice of Godwin Dold. Even with the courts closed for a period of time due to COVID-19, we are still getting great results. Here is a recent success story from one of our clients.
One such case was a DWI involving a claim that our client had an intoxicating substance in their system at the time of driving. The state claimed the intoxicating substance was ephedrine, which is a decongestant found in many allergy and asthma medicines. Ephedrine is not a schedule I or II drug so having a trace amount in the system while driving is not illegal. Instead the state must show that the driver was impaired by an intoxicating substance and that they knew, or had reason to know, that the substance would be intoxicating.
The officer claimed that the driver was acting unusual during their interaction. Due to observing the driver’s behavior of being nervous, fidgety, and unable to follow the instructions, the officer thought the driver may be impaired and conducted field sobriety tests. The officer then obtained a search warrant that authorized a blood draw. The blood test showed ephedrine, which the state used to charge the driver with a DWI.
Attorney Jay Adkins was able to produce evidence showing that the driver’s conduct was very likely caused by underlying medical issues, not impairment. He further established that the amount of ephedrine was not unusually high, and thus unlikely to cause impairment. Shortly before trial began, due to Mr. Adkin’s efforts raising and presenting these issues, a thoughtful prosecutor took a long look at the evidence and defenses in this case before dismissing the DWI charge outright.
This was absolutely the correct result, which prevented a wrongful conviction and prevented a completely innocent person from losing their license.