Minnesota State Trooper’s “DWI Ride-Along”: Not too realistic but raises interesting questions….

While I was surfing the internet to catch up on news, I found a link that naturally caught my eye, as it offered an opportunity to go on a ride-along with a "top DWI cop" to see what a DWI stop, investigation, and arrest involves.  While I understand that the video was not designed to show every detail of such a stop, I found it to be substantially misleading, and I’ll go into those reasons soon.  However, as a former Texas officer who made DWI arrests and worked collisions, I am certainly left wondering why this sort of video would be the one used to give "the feel" of what this officer deals with on a regular basis.  So, watch the video and decide for yourself.  I welcome any comments but especially those of other officers and/or prosecutors.

This DWI video shows a very different situation from those of most cases.

Let’s talk about a few points in this video that seem very unrealistic to me, and I will be the first to admit that there are some very cooperative people who are detained and even arrested for DWI, but I have never in six years of being an Austin-area attorney or a cop seen anyone that was as polite and cooperative as the lady shown in the video at the above link.

  • No crying, complaining, or excuses offered by the suspect;
  • Blowing snow and high winds did not impact the SFST performance;
  • Suspect wearing high-heel shoes during the Walk and Turn test (option to remove shoes is usually given in Texas and frozen Minnesota ground probably caused her to keep them on);
  • Suspect provides a breath sample into a portable breathalyzer device on the roadside (always a bad idea — NEVER do this if asked by an officer);
  • After being arrested, suspect was still fully dressed in scarf and incredibly polite and cooperative (still no tears, angry looks, or expletives);
  • Much of the video was edited (but this removed the real feel of what happens on these stops).

My purpose in writing this entry is not to criticize the officer or the videographer who filmed the video, however, I do not want people to be misled and believe that these stops are this smooth or that the evidence is this clear.  It usually is not.

DWI is a serious offense as the consequences may end an innocent third-party’s life; however, boundaries must be in place to ensure that people do not lose their rights to the State.  In Austin, Texas, political forces have become so influential that often dealing with even the most basic DWI case becomes difficult for fear of political fallout from these entities, like M.A.D.D.