Aug

14

Minnesota Sherrif’s Officer Charged with DUI, Tries to Steal Officer’s Gun

By Topher

Lawrence John Doheny, a sheriff’s department officer in Anoka County, Minnesota, has been charged with DUI and with attempting to grab a police officer’s gun after he was stopped on the highway.

While he was awaiting a blood-alcohol test, police had to Taser Doheny three times to get him to submit, according to Fox 9 in the Twin Cities.

Police saw Doheny’s car make a wide U-turn at a traffic light, then speed and cross over the center line before they stopped him on the highway. When the officer pulled Doheny over, he noticed that there was a smell of alcohol coming from the vehicle, and he saw signs that the driver was drunk.

Doheny said at that point that he had drunk a “couple of beers.”

Doheny got out of his vehicle willingly, but allegedly stumbled as he did so. He did not, however, agree to take an alcohol test, and he was placed under arrest, then transported to the Jordan Police Department and read the implied consent advisory.

Doheny then asked for a lawyer and to be allowed to make a telephone call. He then refused to take a urine or a blood test. He offered to take a DUI breath test, but Scott County, where he was being held, does not offer breath tests as an option in these situations.

Finally, Doheny agreed to take a blood test at the St. Francis Medical Center. “You guys nailed me,” he reportedly said. Doheny was not handcuffed as police transported him into the hospital, but that is when things started to get dangerous.

At that point, Doheny allegedly tried to grab a police officer’s handgun. He then threatened the officer by stating, “you really shouldn’t test me.” The police officer was able to secure his gun before Doheny shoved him in the chest, and took off on foot, ignoring the police’s commands that he get down on the ground.

When Doheny kept running, the officer Tased him. Doheny kept at it, and ended up getting Tased three times as back-up arrived on the scene.

Finally he was handcuffed, put on a stretcher and taken to the emergency room, where staff reported that he was belligerent. They were able to get a reading on his blood-alcohol content.

Doheny, who has been with the sheriff’s department in Anoka for 18 years, has been placed on administrative leave from his civil division post.

Jan

28

Minnesota Supreme Court Upholds DUI of Parked, Sleeping Driver

By Topher

In 2007, a Minnesota man was arrested after police found him asleep at the wheel of his car, parked in his designated spot in front of his own apartment building. According to the Star Tribune, Daryl Fleck was drunk, and he was subsequently charged with driving under the influence.

Recently, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld a jury’s drunk driving conviction of Fleck. The court determined that there was enough evidence for the jury to conclude that Fleck was in control of his vehicle when he was arrested.

Fleck’s conviction was his fourth for DUI, and he was sentenced to four years in prison. The conviction had already passed through the state’s Court of Appeals, which affirmed the conviction and paved the way for the state Supreme Court appeal.

G. Tony Atwal, Fleck’s appellate lawyer, did not agree with the court’s decision to uphold the conviction. He told the Star Tribune, “Presumably, if you’re in or about your car, the county attorney could now charge you with a physical control DWI.”

Atwal explained his decision to pursue the various appeals because there was not evidence to suggest that Fleck had actually driven the vehicle that he was found in. According to Atwal, the car’s engine was cold to the touch, and a police officer wasn’t able to start it at all.

Atwall also noted that the fact that the car was parked in a parking lot near Fleck’s home made a great deal of difference. Had it been parked by the side of the road, for example, the situation would change.

According to the Star Tribune, the Supreme Court did not agree. The decision handed down read, “Mere presence in or about a vehicle is insufficient to show physical control; it is the overall situation that is determinative.”

The decision, written by Justice Alan Page, did acknowledge that the circumstances of this situation were not typical of the more common “physical control” drunk driving cases.

The “physical control of a motor vehicle” law is intended to prevent drunk people from getting in a position to operate a motor vehicle, but rather to enter vehicles only as passengers.

Jan

9

Ride-Along With Minnesota DWI Arrest

By Mary Ann

The busy season for DUI arrests may be over, but police officers across the country are still keeping their eyes open for drunk drivers.

What can you expect when you get pulled over? TwinCities.com offers a great video ride-along with Minnesota State Trooper Adam Flynn, who is has led his department in DUI arrests each of the last four years.

In the video, which was shot in St. Paul, Officer Flynn talks about what he looks for when stopping drivers, and you’ll even see a full arrest, with field sobriety test, breathalyzer and booking.

Each year in Minnesota 40,000 are arrested for DUI, according to the Department of Public Safety. This winter, the state started a program to let citizens give “Designated Driver Certificates” which promise a safe ride to a friend.

Mar

15

St. Cloud, Minnesota Bars Help Patrons Avoid DUI With Cab Passes

By Mary Ann

Some bars in St. Cloud, Minnesota, home to St. Cloud State University, give cab passes to patrons who are legally too drunk to drive.

Bar owners across the country are slowly realizing it’s cheaper to help get their drunk patrons home than deal with the consequences of  DUI.

There has been a steady increase in DUI in St. Cloud over the past five years. To help discourage DUI, some downtown bars have begun giving students cab rides home after a night of drinking.

The cab passes are good business. McRudy’s Pub gives a cab pass to anyone who needs one. Bar manager Scott Christos said “People come to McRudy’s for a safe ride home, and in turn, spend their money here.”

One St. Cloud Student said, “I will sit at a bar all night from 9 pm or so until 2 am, and by that time, I have run out of money. It would be nice to get a free ride home from a bar that I just spent all my time and money at.”

Mar

13

Car Forfeited in DUI Case Becomes Minnesota Police Squad Car

By Mary Ann

The Elk River, Minnesota Police Department seized a 2002 Chevy Impala through the Minnesota DUI forfeiture program, and now it’s an unmarked police squad car.

Most states have a forfeiture program for property involved in drug crimes; Minnesota has a forfeiture program for DUI arrests.

Elk River Police Chief Jeff Beahen said that your first DUI can cost you your driver’s license. Your second DUI can cost you your license plates. If you get a third DUI, your could lose your vehicle.

Elk River usually sells vehicles it confiscates at auction, but the Chevy Impala was the same model as the cars used by the Elk River Police Department. The Department is currently trying to seize a Ford Expedition with just 750 miles on it.

Forfeitures can be quite profitable for some police departments. Beahen said some agencies take in $250,000 in revenue each year from forfeited vehicles, seizing everything from cars to motor homes.

Jan

17

Federal Security Officer at Fargo North Dakota Airport Charged with Minnesota DUI

By Mary Ann

A federal security officer at the Fargo North Dakota airport was charged with DUI in Minnesota. The officer was arrested Saturday morning in Dilworth Minnesota. Police say he failed several field sobriety tests and had a BAC of 0.22 percent, almost three times the legal BAC limit for DUI in Minnesota. He is facing two counts of third-degree DUI in Clay County District Court. The officer is security director for screening at Fargo’s Hector International Airport.

Dec

31

Minnesota DUI Arrests Approach Record

By Mary Ann

Law enforcement officials in Minnesota are on pace to make 40,000 DUI arrests in 2006. Officials note that Minnesota has stepped up its DUI enforcement and that 2006 is the first full year for the nationally mandated 0.08 BAC limit for DUI in Minnesota.

More than 470,000 Minnesotans have a DUI on their driving record and more than 200,000 have multiple DUIs. About one in eight current or formally licensed drivers have at least one DUI on their record.

According to officials, Minnesotans still aren’t getting the message about the dangers of drinking and driving. The State plans increased enforcement for the New Year’s holiday.