Dakota County District Court File No. 19HA-CR-11-3251
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and
Henry Schaeffer, III, Thomas M. Scott, Campbell Knutson P.A., Eagan, Minnesota (for respondent)
Coley J. Grostyan, Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Cleary, Presiding Judge; Connolly, Judge; and Larkin, Judge.
Appellant challenges his convictions of driving while impaired (DWI) and test refusal, arguing that the evidence is not sufficient to support his convictions and that his right to counsel was not vindicated. We affirm.
Respondent State of Minnesota charged appellant Fareez Ally with DWI, test refusal, failure to provide proof of insurance, failure to yield right of way to emergency vehicle, failure to illuminate license plates, and possession of a small amount of marijuana. The case was tried to a jury. The following evidence was presented at trial.
Lakeville Police Officer Adam Stier testified that on September 18, 2011, while on routine patrol, he noticed a vehicle that did not have its rear license plate illuminated. Stier followed the vehicle to confirm that the rear license-plate light was not functioning. He confirmed the license-plate light was off, followed the vehicle beyond a construction zone, and activated his emergency lights. Almost immediately after Stier activated his emergency lights, the vehicle swerved sharply to the right onto the shoulder of the road, veered back into the traffic lane, continued several blocks, and accelerated before finally pulling over.
Immediately after stopping, the driver of the vehicle—later identified as Ally—got out of the vehicle and walked toward Stier's squad car. Stier got out of his car and repeatedly told Ally to stop and to get back into his vehicle. Ally continued to walk toward Stier until he was less than ten feet away. He then stopped, silently stood, and swayed from side to side.
Because Ally did not return to his vehicle, Stier decided to detain him as a safety precaution. When Stier approached Ally to handcuff him, Stier could smell "a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage." After handcuffing him, Stier faced Ally and observed that he was still swaying, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, and his speech was slightly slurred. During the course of the encounter Ally continually interrupted, saying that Stier was violating his rights, oppressing him, and unlawfully detaining him.
Stier believed that Ally was intoxicated. He asked Ally to perform field sobriety tests and to take a preliminary breath test. Ally refused to submit to either form of testing. Stier arrested Ally, drove him to the ...