from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Sonna M. Anderson, Judge.
J. Hammes, Assistant City Attorney, Bismarck, N.D., for
plaintiff and appellee.
R. Hoffman, Bismarck, N.D., for defendant and appellant.
Ronning Kapsner, Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale
V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.
Ronning Kapsner, Justice.
[¶1] Barbara Sokalski appeals from a
judgment entered after a jury convicted her of driving a
vehicle under the influence of alcohol. We conclude the
district court did not abuse its discretion in denying
Sokalski's new trial motion because she failed to
establish the City's prosecution had presented false
testimony and a " false case" against her. We
[¶2] On May 12, 2014, at about 1:30 a.m.,
Bismarck Police Officer Paul Olson was northbound in his
patrol vehicle on State Street, near Wal-Mart in north
Bismarck, which is a four-lane roadway with a ditch dividing
the north- and southbound lanes. While driving, Olson
observed multiple vehicles in front of him swerve to the
right and pull over to avoid another vehicle that was driving
southbound straight into oncoming traffic. Olson pulled to
the side of the road and activated his squad car's
lights. The vehicle passed him, and Olson did a u-turn and
pulled the vehicle over.
[¶3] After stopping the vehicle, Olson
approached and made contact with the driver. He immediately
observed a strong odor of alcohol. The driver was unable to
locate her driver's license and handed him a different
card with her name on it. Olson identified the driver as
Sokalski. While speaking with Sokalski, he noticed she had a
" stupor" look about her and difficulty speaking.
Olson asked her to exit her vehicle and follow him off the
roadway due to safety concerns. Sokalski, instead, walked
back onto the roadway and attempted to walk on the line on
the side of the road, although he had not instructed Sokalski
to do any tests or actions at this point. Olson also
testified at trial that
Sokalski attempted to touch her nose with her fingers
multiple times and stated, " [S]ee[,] I'm not
[¶4] Olson observed her having difficulty
maintaining her balance while she walked down the line and
conducted a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, which she
failed. Believing her to be under the influence of alcohol,
he did not conduct any further roadside tests due to safety
issues. Olson testified Sokalski admitted she was coming from
a tavern and he believed she was " heavily
intoxicated" based on his twenty years of training and
experience. Olson arrested Sokalski for driving under the
influence. Olson testified at trial that he read her the
implied consent advisory, he requested that she take a
chemical test, and she refused. Bismarck Police Officer Josh
Brown transported her to the Burleigh County Detention
Center. Olson testified he informed Brown that Sokalski
refused to submit to a chemical test.
[¶5] The City charged Sokalski with driving
under the influence of alcohol or drugs and with refusal to
submit to a chemical test. She pleaded not guilty to the
charges in Bismarck municipal court. Sokalski requested her
case be transferred from municipal court to the district
court for a jury trial. In August 2014, Sokalski made several
pre-trial motions in the district court, including motions
requesting the court to suppress all evidence of her alleged
refusal to take the blood test, to exclude evidence of HGN