Police Charge Arrest Wrong Person Drunk Driving
mistaken identity! not guilty of drunk driving!
Summary: Mechanic with .201 falsely charged with operating while intoxicated in Anchorage, Alaska; Attorney Fred Slone obtained a not guilty verdict for his client by proving his client was innocent by mistaken identity.
This was a second DWI case in which Attorney Fred Slone represented L. C., the first ended in a not guilty verdict at trial three years earlier.
anchorage vs. l. c., district court, anchorage, alaska
parking vehicle calls attention
Police officers arrived at the home of L. C.'s parents, where he was house sitting. Officers observed a Jeep and a van parked in an unusual fashion next to the road. The van appeared to be stuck in the snow. The Jeep was running, but parked in front of the van. L. c. told the officers that he was going to pull out the van. The officers noted that L. c. appeared to be intoxicated and L. c. was told that he should not drive.
L. c. then walked to the Jeep and drove it into the driveway where he parked it. The officer advised L. c. again that he should not be driving.
police sergeant orders arrest
Approximately 45 minutes later one of the officers drove by the residence again and noticed that the Jeep was moving again. The officer noted that L. c. was driving the Jeep. The officer radioed her supervising sergeant who indicated that L. c. should be arrested. Six officers then proceeded to the house.
breath tests shows .201
Police knocked on the door and contacted L. c.'s girlfriend. L. c. eventually came to the door, at which time he was arrested. L. c. was taken to the police station where a breath test was administered with a .201 result.
beard used by police to identify person to arrest
At trial, several of the officers testified. At least two police officers testified that they saw L. c. driving the Jeep the second time they had come around, after he had been told not to drive. They testified that they recognized it was him in the vehicle since he had a dark beard.
falsely identified person may have been drunk
Both L. c. and his girlfriend testified that it was not in fact L. c. that was driving the Jeep the second time the officers came by. In fact, it was L. c.'s girlfriend that was driving. At the time she was wearing a dark hat and face mask and was clearing the driveway with the Jeep. L. c. had been driving earlier, but he and his girlfriend both testified that he had a large drink between the time that he was driving the first time and the time the officers arrived and arrested him.
jury finds attorney fred slone's client not guilty
After three days of trial, the jury returned a verdict of "NOT GUILTY" on the driving while intoxicated charge. If he had been convicted of the DWI, L. c., a mechanic, would have faced a minimum jail term of 60 days.