WASHBURN COUNTY -- A Minong, WI woman is scheduled to have a Jury Trial in Washburn County Circuit Court on a charge of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), 6th Offense.
Stacey Miller, of Minong, WI, is charged with OWI 6th Offense after an incident on November 26, 2016, at around 1:30 AM, when a Washburn County Sheriff's Deputy made contact with her while she was stopped in her vehicle on the side of the road.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Miller, a Washburn County Sheriff's Deputy was en route responding to a 911 hang up call on Little Sande Road when he saw a vehicle stopped on the side of Smith Bridge Road with its brake lights on. As the Deputy got closer to the vehicle, the reverse lights came on and the vehicle appeared to have been put into park, as the brake lights went off and the hazard lights went on.
The Deputy stopped along side the vehicle and turned on his squad car emergency lights. When the Deputy activated a light so that he could observe the interior of the vehicle, he reportedly saw the female driver, later identified as Stacey Miller, look over at him and then quickly jump from the driver's seat into the rear of the vehicle. The Deputy then reportedly saw the male in the front passenger seat move over into the driver's seat.
The criminal complaint goes on to state that the Deputy asked Miller to step out of the back seat of the vehicle, where she was found sitting among containers of food. When the Deputy asked Miller what was going on that evening, she allegedly stated that she had just finished work and was on her way home. The Deputy then asked the male passenger to also get out of the vehicle. The Deputy could smell the odor of alcohol coming from both Miller and the passenger.
Miller repeatedly told the Deputy that she was not driving and that the passenger was the one who had been driving the vehicle, even though the Deputy advised Miller that he had watched her move from the driver's seat into the back seat of the vehicle.
Washburn County Dispatch advised the Deputy that although both Miller and the passenger had valid driver's licenses at that time, they also each had a restriction on their licenses, not allowing them to have a blood alcohol concentration in excess of 0.02.
With most Class D driver’s license, an individual can legally drive with a BAC of less than .08 percent as long as they are able to safely operate the vehicle. However, a non-commercial driver (Class D) is prohibited from having a BAC of more than .02 percent if the number of his/her prior convictions, suspensions, or revocations for operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is 3 or greater. This also changes the probable cause standard needed by an officer as even the smell of an intoxicating beverage alone is enough to lead the officer to believe that the suspected individual is violating the .02 percent BAC.
- Joe Schieffer, area attorney and legal eagle for DrydenWire.com.
Field sobriety testing was attempted with Miller, however, she was not able to successfully complete the tests. Miller reportedly refused to provide a preliminary breath sample at the scene, continuously repeating that the Deputy was being “mean” and that he was “taking her kids away from her”.
Inside the vehicle, the Deputy reportedly found two cans of Busch Light beer, which the passenger in the vehicle stated belonged to him, along with containers of leftover food which appeared to be from a Thanksgiving dinner, and two 6-packs of Bud Light bottled beer.
The criminal complaint also states that Miller repeatedly told the passenger to tell the Deputy that he had been driving. When the passenger did finally state that he had been driving the vehicle, the Deputy advised him that if he wanted to say that he was the one driving, then field sobriety testing would also be completed with him and that if he had a blood alcohol concentration higher than .02 he would also be arrested for OWI. At that point, the passenger stated that he had not been driving. Law enforcement provided the passenger with a ride home.
Miller was placed under arrest for OWI and while being transported, she allegedly continued her belligerent and disrespectful behavior to the Deputy, refusing to sit up in the squad car for her own safety and stating that the Deputy was being an “a**hole” for arresting her and taking her kids away from her.
As Miller initially refused to cooperate with an evidentiary blood draw to determine her level of intoxication, the Deputy requested a search warrant for her blood which was granted by a judge. Once at Indianhead Medical Center Emergency Room, Miller began to state that she had never refused to give blood and did ultimately cooperate with the blood draw. The results of that test are not known to DrydenWire.com at this time.
Miller appeared in Washburn County Circuit Court on August 21, 2017, regarding her charges and her case has been set for a Jury Trial in January 2018. If convicted of this charge, Miller could face a maximum of penalty of confinement in Wisconsin State Prison for not more 6 years.
Public record indicates that Miller also is facing charges in Sawyer County Circuit Court for OWI 6th Offense. That criminal complaint was filed in March 2017. A third complaint was filed against Miller on May 23, 2017, in Washburn County Circuit Court, charging her with 1 count of Class H Felony Bail Jump. In Sawyer County Circuit Court, a fourth criminal complaint was filed against Miller on May 25, 2017, also with a charge of Class H Felony Bail Jump. Details of these cases are not known to DrydenWire.com at this time.
Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
About Attorney Joseph Schieffer: Joseph has formerly prosecuted cases in Barron & Washington counties in Wisconsin. Currently, he is a solo practitioner in Cumberland, Wisconsin specializing in criminal defense and civil litigation in Barron, Washburn, Rusk, Burnett, Sawyer, and surrounding counties. He can be reached at email@example.com with questions or comments.