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Attorney Fred Slone

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Case Results

Illegal Search Dismisses DUI, Test Refusal, Driving While Drunk & Revoked

illegal search gets charges dismissed

Summary: Illegal entry by police into garage results in dismissal of drunk driving, refusal to submit to a sobriety test and driving while revoked.

In this case Attorney Fred Slone's client, B. R., was charged with driving while   intoxicated (DWI), driving while license revoked (DWLR), and refusal to submit   to a chemical test (Refusal), all of which are Class A Misdemeanors.

anchorage vs. B. r., district court anchorage, Alaska

facing jail time, fines, forfeiture of automobile

B. r. was an architect working for a construction engineering company. At the   time of his arrest he was allegedly driving on a revoked driver's license from a prior   DWI conviction less than one year earlier, and was still on probation from that   charge. Since he had one prior DWI conviction (as well as a reckless driving   conviction) in the last 10 years he faced a minimum jail term of 20 days on each   of the DWI and refusal charges if convicted. He also faced the possibility of   substantial jail time for the violation of his probation on his last DWI charge.   Additionally, he would have been subject to a minimum 10 day jail term and 80   hours of community work service on the driving while license revoked charge if   convicted. Finally, if convicted of DWI or Refusal, his cherry red Mustang   convertible would have been forfeited to the city.

citizen complains about drunk driver

The arrest in this case occurred as a result of a citizen complaint of an   intoxicated driver on a 911 telephone call. The caller indicated several   specific examples of B. r.'s erratic driving and erratic behavior in a   condominium complex lot. The caller reported that a red convertible Mustang had   left the vicinity at a high rate of speed. The caller identified himself, his   address, and identified the vehicle and license plate number driven by B. r.

police follow suspect into garage without warrant

The police dispatch officer broadcast a "locate" for the suspected DWI   vehicle in the vicinity of the condominium. Shortly thereafter an officer   arrived at the scene and spotted the vehicle. The officer followed the vehicle   for a few blocks and turned on his overhead lights. When the Mustang did not   stop, the officer activated his siren, but the Mustang continued slowly for   another 4 blocks, where it pulled into a subterranean garage under a condominium   complex and parked. The officer stopped his patrol vehicle just outside the   garage, entered through the open garage door, and made contact with B. r., who   was seated in his vehicle. The officer had B. r. get out of the vehicle, noticed   signs of intoxication, and arrested him for DWI.

suspected drunk driver refuses to submit to test

After he was taken to a   police substation, B. r. refused to submit to a breath test. B. r. was charged   with DWI, refusal to submit to a chemical test, and driving while license   revoked. B. r. initially hired an attorney that he knew. Subsequently, that attorney referred B. r. to Attorney Fred Slone, whom B. R. immediately hired to take over the   case.

video shows suspect obviously drunk & refusing to test

An audio recording was made of the events that transpired at the   station. On the audio recording, B. r. clearly refused to submit to a chemical   test. Additionally, the audio recording, which would have been admissible at   trial, indicated that B. r. was apparently quite intoxicated. Since it was clear   that B. r. was driving after the officer made contact with him, the only real   hope in avoiding a conviction on the three charges was to get all of the   evidence after the contact with the officer excluded from trial and/or a   dismissal of the charges.

illegal search & seizure

The first hurdle was the Administrative   Review Hearing to avoid a revocation by the DMV. Attorney Fred Slone subpoenaed all   officers that were involved in the investigation and cross-examined them at the   Administrative Review Hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, Attorney Slone   argued that all evidence obtained after the arresting officer first made contact   with B. r. should be excluded on the grounds that (1) the officer violated   B. r.'s constitutional rights by contacting him without first having a reasonable   suspicion to do so; and (2) the officer violated B. r.'s constitutional rights by   entering the garage without a warrant, or sufficient emergency basis to do so.

slone save client's driver's license

The hearing officer granted Attorney Slone's request, and dismissed the DMV   revocation action on the grounds that the officer did not have reasonable   suspicion to contact B. r. in the first instance.

criminal charges & constitutional violations challenged

The next hurdle was the   criminal case. Attorney Slone filed pretrial motions to suppress all evidence   obtained after the officer first contacted B. r. and requested that the charges   be dismissed. A lengthy pretrial evidentiary hearing was held over the course of   three days. The arresting officer, as well as other support officers at the scene,   testified. Additionally, the sergeant in charge of the dispatch control center   testified, and introduced audio recordings of the conversation between the 911   caller and dispatch, as well as the conversations between dispatch and the   arresting officer.

court finds search illegal & throws out evidence

At the conclusion of the hearing, the motion judge   accepted Attorney Slone's argument that the officer's entry into the garage without a   warrant violated B. r.'s constitutional rights. Accordingly, the judge threw out   all evidence obtained after that point, and dismissed the charges.

prosecution appeals dismissal

The   prosecution filed an appeal to the Alaska Court Of Appeals.

slone wins court of appeals trial

Attorney Slone responded   with lengthy briefing to rebut all of the arguments made by the prosecutor. The   court of appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling in favor of B. r. All charges   remain dismissed, and B. r. avoided a substantial jail term, license revocation,   and loss of his Mustang convertible.

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