D.C. skyline

DUI Trial Testimony: Basis for Car Stop

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses, Trial Advocacy

Q:            Officer, as I understand it, you were parked behind my client at the intersection of 19th and M Streets northwest? A:            Yes. Q:            And there were two reasons you decided to pull him over? A:            Yes. Q:            The first reason was that he didn’t pull forward immediately when the light turned green? A:            Yes, I was concerned that – …

U.S. Capitol building

DUI Trial Transcript: One-Leg Stand

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses, Trial Advocacy

Q:            Turning your attention now, Officer, to the one-leg stand. A:            Okay. Q:            Mr. Jones had you step into the well of the court and demonstrate how you delivered the instructions on the night in question. A:            Yes, sir. Q:            And, in fact, you were speaking so quickly that the stenographer had to interrupt you.  She had to tell you …

Aerial view of DC

DUI Trial Testimony: The Car Stop

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses, Trial Advocacy

Q:            Officer, you testified on direct that when you first saw my client, he was driving southbound on 7th Street? A:            Yes. Q:            You were driving northbound? A:            Actually I was parked.  I was parked facing north. Q:            When you first saw my client, he wasn’t speeding, right? A:            Not that I’m aware, no. Q:            He wasn’t swerving? A:            No. …

Emergency Legislation Results in Tougher Drinking-and-Driving Laws in D.C.

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses

A new D.C. law, which took effect on August 1, 2012, has increased penalties for people convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving under the influence (DUI) and operating while impaired (OWI).  For example, the penalty for a first-time conviction in a DUI/DWI case has gone up from a maximum fine of $300 and 90 days in jail to a …

Complaints, Excuses, and Justifications after a Lost DWI Trial

Jamison KoehlerDiscovery, DUI and Driving Offenses, Trial Advocacy

  Before beginning my practice in Virginia, I went over to traffic court in Fairfax County to observe, and was struck by the large number of DWI cases that pled. One piece of blue paper after another was passed up to the judge, with the defendants lining up to accept responsibility for their offense. These guys don’t know how to …

U.S. Capitol building

Confrontation Clause Be Damned: D.C. Continues to Use Surrogate Witnesses in DUI Cases

Jamison KoehlerCriminal Procedure, DUI and Driving Offenses, Legal Concepts/Principles

  Michael Bruckheim was scheduled to cross-examine Lucas Zarwell, the chief forensic toxicologist in D.C., and a group of DUI lawyers had gathered outside Room 116 yesterday afternoon shortly before 2:00 pm. Zarwell testified before city council last May that urine samples taken by police to test suspected drunk drivers are not reliable enough to accurately measure a person’s blood …

U.S. Capitol Building

Confronting the Silent Witness — the Breath Test Machine — in a DWI Case

Jamison KoehlerDUI and Driving Offenses

  The government vouches for him.  He himself doesn’t need to come to court, much less explain the basis for his conclusions.  His “testimony,” which is delivered through an interpreter, consists of nothing more than a couple of numbers and some pre-set generic language. There is no opportunity to cross-examine him. And yet the court can send the defendant away …