Monday, April 14, 2014

Minnesota DWI Lawyer Blogs on Minnesota DWI: This Week's Featured Minnesota DWI Case

The Minnesota DWI Case Of The Week is State v. Williams (Unpublished, Minnesota Court of Appeals, issued April 14, 2014) which stands for the proposition that if you are going to drive drunk or without a license, it is best to be operating a vehicle in perfect condition.

In Williams, the Defendant was stopped by the police because the center brake light on the Defendant's vehicle was illuminated at only one-third of its capacity.  The Defendant successfully challenged the stop and got his case dismissed in the district court on the grounds that the officer did not have a constitutionally sufficient basis to make the initial stop of his vehicle.  

Alas, on appeal the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the district court noting that Minnesota Statute 169.57, subd. 1 requires that all brake lights on a motor vehicle be "maintained in good working condition".  Mr. Williams argued that he had not violated the statute because while his center brake light was only partially illuminated, it was in "good working condition" because the arresting officer could observe that it lit up when the brakes were applied.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals disagreed with Mr. Williams stating, "We do not agree that the statute merely commands that brake lights be perceptible.  The plain meaning of "good working condition" does not mean a brake light functioning at one-third of its capacity.  Nor does "good" working condition mean "adequate" or "sufficient" working condition." Because the Defendant's brake light was not in good working condition, the District Court erred in suppressing the evidence.

MORAL OF THE STORY: You must be dim bulb to drive a car that is not in good working condition!