A felony DUI case against a Ketchum man has been dismissed following a successful argument by his defense that the man’s arrest and breath test should be inadmissible in court because the alleged offense occurred outside the presence of a law enforcement officer and was initially charged as a misdemeanor. It was later found that the defendant had two prior DUI convictions, making the third alleged offense a felony.
Aleksandr William Baron, 30, was originally charged with misdemeanor DUI after an Idaho State Police officer and a Blaine County Sheriff’s deputy made contact with him just before midnight on Aug. 28 following a report of a vehicle leaving the scene of an accident. Neither law enforcement officer witnessed Baron driving the vehicle.
Based on an Idaho Supreme Court decision last summer, law enforcement officers can no longer make a misdemeanor arrest without either witnessing the alleged offense or obtaining a warrant for arrest from a judge.
Baron’s defense attorney, Amanda Breen, argued in her motion to suppress evidence that based on the Supreme Court ruling, her client was illegally
arrested, and therefore his breath test and search and seizure of his vehicle were all illegal.
In a 32-page decision, 5th District Judge Ned Williamson agreed with Breen and stated that the arrest was illegal based on earlier precedent and the Supreme Court’s decision, which significantly changed the method in which police officers can make a misdemeanor arrest.
“Defendant was illegally arrested in this case,” Williamson wrote.
Prior to a status conference that had been scheduled for Feb. 26, the Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the felony charge and a misdemeanor open-container charge based on a container of alcohol allegedly found in the vehicle.