The Minnesota DWI Case Of The Week is State v. Meyer (Decided June 25, 2018, Minnesota Court of Appeals, Unpublished) which stands for the proposition that if a Data Master breath test result appears to be reliable, it is incumbent upon the driver to show why the test is not trustworthy.
In Meyer, the Defendant was arrested for a DWI and he tested at .14% alcohol concentration on the Data Master Breath testing machine (DMT). The case went to trial and the sole witness was the sheriff's deputy, who testified that he properly administered the DMT and that the DMT was working properly. The printed DMT result was admitted into evidence and published for the jury without objection. The jury found appellant guilty of second-degree DWI.
On Appeal, the Defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence claiming that the DMT test was not reliable. The Defendant, however, did not produce any evidence as to why the test was not reliable. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, noting:
"The test result of a DMT, which is an 'approved breath-testing instrument,' is admissible without expert testimony that the result is trustworthy or reliable if the test is performed by a fully trained person. Minn. Stat. § 634.16 (2016)".
"The proponent of the test must show that "the necessary steps have been taken to ensure reliability," and thereafter, "it is incumbent on the driver to suggest a reason why the [breath] test was untrustworthy." State v. Nelson, 399 N.W.2d 629, 632 (Minn. App. 1987).
In this case, the sheriff's deputy testified that he did not observe any malfunction or interference with the DMT machine, and appellant concedes that the DMT was functioning properly on November 9, 2015. The record also supports that the deputy was certified to operate the DMT as of September 15, 2015, and that he had training and field practice in operating a DMT. The deputy testified that he followed the procedure and protocol consistent with his DMT training in administering appellant's DMT test.
"To rebut the state's prima facie showing of admissibility and presumed reliability, appellant must show a reason why the DMT test result is untrustworthy. Nelson, 399 N.W.2d at 632. To do so requires more than '"speculation that something might have occurred to invalidate th[e] results."
"On this record, there was sufficient evidence for the jury to reasonably infer that the DMT methodology, operation, and test result were accurate, valid, and reliable, and thus, for the jury to rely on the DMT result in reaching its verdict. The record shows that appellant's DMT test result was 0.14 AC within two hours of driving. Therefore, there was sufficient evidence for the jury to reasonably conclude that the state proved that appellant was guilty of second-degree DWI beyond a reasonable doubt."
Moral Of The Story: Saying something is true does not make it so.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a Minnesota DWI or are facing the DWI forfeiture of your motor vehicle, feel free to contact Minnesota DWI Lawyer, F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 for answers to all of your Minnesota DWI and forfeiture questions.