Tag Archives: getting a DUI in Dickinson North Dakota

Getting A DUI In Dickinson, North Dakota

On Saturday evening the owner of the house where I live in Dickinson, North Dakota started on an angry rant while I was asleep on the sofa.  I woke up and asked him what is wrong with him, and I said I had to go someplace else.

I had no intention of going out this evening, but now I had to.   The Paragon Bowling Alley diner has prime rib night on Saturday, so that is where I went.  Luckily for me, two nice waitresses that I knew and get along with, were working in the diner on this night.  I saw some other people that I knew sitting in the diner.  The prime rib that I ordered was very good. One of the bar waitresses and one of the bartender women came into the diner and they were both attractive, pleasant, and friendly.

I hardly ever go into the bar at the Paragon Bowling Alley, but I needed to not go home yet, and the women staff this night were pretty and nice.  When I went into the bar, I don’t know where the other women staff went, but Morticia and Divine were behind the bar, so I left.

With nothing to do, I drove east on Villard to the Family Dollar to buy some paper towels, and walk down every aisle looking for anything else to buy.  I didn’t want to go to any other bar in Dickinson,  because the police try as hard as they can to get everyone for a DUI, but I didn’t want to go home, and there is no where else to go.  I thought that I would drive downtown and maybe go to The Rock Bar, Bernie’s Esquire Club, or the Eagles Lodge.

Driving east on Villard toward downtown, I passed a police car that was going west.  Then when I drove past the Rock Bar downtown, I passed another police car.  The police, and the lack of attractive women in bars in Dickinson, was making me just want to drive back to where I live.  I  drove past the Esquire Club and the Eagles Lodge, I didn’t feel like going in.  I got back on Villard to drive west back home.  A police car got behind me and followed me for about a mile to the end of Villard.

I didn’t like being followed by the police all the way to the end of Villard.  I was in the left lane driving 25 mph, the police car was in the right lane driving 25 mph.  Because of the snow and ice on Villard, you could drive for a couple of blocks without seeing the lane markings at all.  The tire tracks from all the previous vehicles that had melted through the snow down to pavement in the left lane, were not actually in the left lane, the worn in tire tracks crossed into the right lane.  What was I supposed to do?  It is safer to drive in the tire tracks of all the previous vehicles that have worn down through the snow to the pavement, which is what most people do, especially when you can’t see the lane markings, but I had to drive on top of the snow and ice for a mile because there was a police car just behind me and to my right.

The police officer was just hoping and waiting for me to cross over a lane marking, which were mostly covered in snow, and the worn in tire tracks of the previous vehicles had crossed over the lane markings.  This would be the reason to pull me over for suspicion of DUI.  In the police officer’s opinion, I would have failed the eye tests, and he would be very certain that I was intoxicated.  However, I had not had any alcohol, I have had something wrong with my eyes my entire life.  Proceeding from there, the police officer would say that my speech was slurred even if it wasn’t, that I could not count off correctly even if I did count off correctly, that I could not stand on one foot even if I could.  If a Breathalyzer test would have shown 0.00, or 0.01, that couldn’t be right, I was either drunk or on drugs, because the police officer doesn’t want to not give someone a citation for DUI, especially me.

I think that I know who this police officer was, because he was driving a Chevy Tahoe instead of a Ford Explorer.  In November of 2014 this police officer pulled over Damon Prescott Butterfield in Dickinson for suspicion of DUI.  Damon Butterfield did agree to take several field sobriety tests like the ones that I described above.  There was almost not enough evidence against him to be convicted of DUI after the field sobriety tests, however after being asked several times, he had admitted to having a few beers.  He refused to take a Breathalyzer test, and was placed under arrest, and was informed of the North Dakota law about driver’s license suspension for refusal to submit to chemical tests.

Damon Butterfield was taken to jail in Dickinson where he continued to refuse to submit to any chemical test.  At a court hearing, his driver’s license was suspended for 180 days for refusal to submit to chemical tests when requested, which is a North Dakota law that you can go look up.  Damon Butterfield appealed his driver’s license suspension on several grounds, one of them being that the North Dakota law was unconstitutional, and that some of the processes of the traffic stop and sobriety tests were unconstitutional for various reasons.  This case was heard on appeal, and it eventually was heard in the Supreme Court of North Dakota.  It should not come as a surprise that the Supreme Court of North Dakota stood by the North Dakota law to suspend someone’s driver’s license if they refuse to submit to chemical tests.

However, what many people have discovered in North Dakota, especially truck drivers, is that it is better to have your driver’s license suspended for 180 days for refusal to submit to a chemical test, rather than submit to a chemical test and have the blood alcohol result used to convict you of DUI.

I had a long discussion about the Damon Prescott Butterfield VS Levi Supreme Court case two weeks ago, and I was on the side of law enforcement mostly.  I did not like the tactic which can be used to get out of a DUI:  do not admit to having had any alcohol, no matter what the police officer says; do not take any field sobriety tests, no matter what, perhaps say that you are sick; do not take any Breathalyzer or chemical tests; if you are placed under arrest, advise the police that you wish to speak to an attorney;  at jail continue to refuse to take any chemical test on the grounds that you have the right to speak to an attorney.  This is a delay tactic, which some attorneys may participate in, to have enough time pass that when you finally have spoken to your attorney hours after your arrest, if you took a Breathalyzer test at that time, the blood alcohol level would be much lower.  Because all questions, field sobriety tests, and chemical tests were previously refused, and a chemical test taken a couple of hours after arrest was below the blood alcohol level limit, there exists no evidence to support a DUI conviction

I described the tactic to get out of a DUI, because I didn’t like being followed by the police, and likely being railroaded into a DUI, even though I had not had any alcohol.  It is not illegal in North Dakota to drive to and from a bar.  It is not illegal in North Dakota to have one or two alcohol drinks and drive home.  The way the police act in Dickinson, they assume that everyone driving at night is guilty of DUI, and they need to be followed until there is a reason to pull them over, so that they can be questioned, given sobriety tests, and given a Breathalyzer test.