What Qualities Should Your DUI Defense Attorney Possess?

Interviewer: What’s unique about you and your defense?

How Knowledgeable Is the Attorney about DUI Law?

Jay Arnesen: The unique part of my defense is really my history and my practice itself and what I’ve build it on. I have the unique perspective of learning criminal law from the police officer’s side.

I went to the police academy and I have a police training certificate and I was trained on how to investigate crime. I learned how to make legal and valid motor vehicle stops. I learned about reasonable suspicion, probable cause, motor vehicle law, standardized field sobriety testing, advanced breath testing. I learned all of the ins and outs initially as a police officer.

Knowing What to Refute about the Arrest: Familiarity with What the Police Look for to Build Probable Cause Is a Defensive Asset

It wasn’t until I was forced to retire because I was almost killed in the line of duty that I went to law school and became a lawyer. It was a natural fit for me to become a defense attorney.

Then again, as a defense attorney, now, I know exactly how things go down for a DUI arrest or even for a criminal arrest. For charges like DUI there are so many defenses that are built in the police reports that most attorneys don’t ever see and that I use and use to my advantage in every case.

There Are a Number of Facets to a DUI Investigation and Arrest: Did the Police Follow Protocol?

One of the best defenses we have as criminal defense attorneys is a 20 minute observation rule. It indicates that police have to observe the subjects mouth for 20 continuous minutes prior to administering a breath test. The reason is that you don’t want the subject to burp or belch or regurgitate any type of fluid from their stomach cavity into their esophagus that could potentially spike a reading or spike a breath test.

After an Arrest, the Police Must Continuously Observe the Suspect for 20 Minutes

What happens is there is a very specific time frame of events and police don’t necessarily record all of those events. However, they typically love to write in their reports that they observed the defendant for 20 continuous minutes prior to getting samples of their breath.Forensically, we can go ahead and get copies of audio transmission pulled from the police officer through headquarters.

From headquarters back to the patrol units and we can time stamp when police arrive at headquarters. We can then request videotape from inside police headquarters or the cell block or the sheriff’s department. The importance of that is to try to show and this happens often, that the police could not have observed you for 20 continuous minutes prior to obtaining breath samples.

Many times you are put in a holding cell and although the police officer writes in his report that he observed you for 20 continuous minutes you’ll get a video that shows you sitting in the holding cell by yourself.

When the machine was ready to take your sample the police officer simply comes over, takes you out of your cell, he gets two samples of your breath and he puts you back in. We use that in our defense to beat your case. And we do; it’s a great defense and it’s just one of many that I implement in my cases.

There Are Many Aspects to DUI Defense

Interviewer: What aspects of DUI cases do you like to work on?

Jay Arnesen: I handle everything when it comes to DUI. I just finished a six-defense DUI trial yesterday. The day before that I argued an appeal on a 20 minute observation issue. I was trying to block out the breath reading. I handle all types of cases from first defenses DUI, first defense DUI refusals, school zone violations, all the way up third and subsequent offenses.

I represent clients on a misdemeanor level and on the felony level. I see DUI’s where people are injured and they’re facing serious criminal charges.  I have years of experiences defending those cases.

Defending Multiple DUIs

Interviewer: How is it to work on a case for a client that has prior convictions?

It Is Imperative That the Attorney Is Well-Versed in the Science Used to Prove Impaired Driving

Jay Arnesen: Interestingly enough I just recently finished a trial. It was yesterday. It was sixth-defense DUI in this particular instance my client had hired me to defend him on his fourth offense of DUI. I beat that charge on a motion to suppress an illegal blood draw.

When the Attorney Is Able to Suppress Evidence, the State May Not Be Able to go Forward with the Case

I believe his blood alcohol level was approximately three times over the legal limit. I believe it was a .24.  He also had prescription medication in his system. We were able to suppress the entire blood evidence and there was no proof that the state had to go forward with the case.

I also was hired by him on his fifth offense DUI. I also beat that charge in trial. We received a straight-forward not guilty. We went to trial over two days on his six-offense DUI. It was a very tough case.

The police officers did a very good job in that case and he was convicted and while he was in trial on his sixth offense he picked up a seventh offense, which I’ll be representing him on.

Interviewer: What was the highest number of prior DUI’s that you’ve seen?

Jay Arnesen: The actual case I’m talking about now. Now I’m defending a client that has six priors.

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