Friday, August 5, 2011

What Does a Minnesota DWI Lawyer Do? (Video Evidence)

The criminal justice system is not a machine that works with the precision of a Swiss watch.  Rather, it is populated with human beings - and as such mistakes and errors in judgment abound. Not only is this true of judges and prosecutors, but where this really should matter to someone charged with a crime is when it comes to members of law enforcement.

Given the nature of a police officer's job - coupled with the power and the authority their afforded - it goes without saying that a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney's most important job is to ensure that any shortcomings in a cop's performance of his job does not result in the unfair prosecution of his client.

Cops and Drunk Driving

During a DWI arrest, law enforcement is required to follow a long and comprehensive list of guidelines.  These start with the initial stop of your vehicle and continue through to what's done back at the stations - and beyond.  When it comes to defending an individual charged with Drunk Driving, I would argue that it is especially important - because unlike most offenses - this charge can be made simply on the opinion of the officer himself.

What Does That Mean To You

Probably the most important technological advance, in the defending of individuals charged with DWI, has been the use of squad cars equipped with cameras that capture the situation and (hopefully) prevent abuse.

Video and audio recordings provide a perfect check on the tool generally employed by officers in the past - their police reports.  Having both sets of evidence, an experienced Minnesota DWI Defense Attorney can better review the assertions made by officers and note their truthfulness.

It all to often happens that there are differences in the words and descriptions used by the cops when they write out their reports and the preliminary notes - and - the video and audio tapes later put into evidence. In my time as a prosecutor and Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I've often noted exaggerations, contradictory statements, a "bending" of the truth and/or even outright lies.

In any case where these things exist, serious questions can be raised before a judge as to the fairness and validity of an arrest and/or the ultimate charges levied against an individual.

The Little Problems

More often than not - it is not the big things listed-above that stand out when I view the video tapes and/or listening to the audio recordings. Rather, where the fight is rally engaged is in pointing out the procedural lapses and errors in judgment that officers commit.  As an experienced Minnesota DWI Defense attorney, I've examined hundreds of these recordings and found numerous mistakes, including: a lack of probable cause to stopping the arestee's vehicle, a failure to follow proper procedure when asking a driver to carry out field sobriety tests, not providing the required warnings, advice or options related to any requests for tests to determine an individual's blood alcohol content, failing to read a suspect his Miranda rights and/or allowing the him to contact an attorney before requesting a test; and in one case endangering an individual's life by conducting an investigation under dangerous circumstances along a busy highway.

What Should You Do?

Know this, the visual and audio recordings that may win you a favorable result also capture your actions and reactions too. Therefore, this is why you should calmly and reasonably cooperate with law enforcement if you are pulled over and questioned. 

If you or someone you love has been charged with a DWI, do no hesitate to contact the Rolloff Law Office as the soonest possible time. The sooner that I can get hmy hands on the video recordings of your arrest, the better your chances in determining if your rights have been respected throughout the process.

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