If you are charged with a DWI, a Minnesota DWI lawyer can help find effective defenses. Here are some general defenses that may be available. But, each case is unique and the availability and effectiveness of each defense depends on the facts of a particular case.
A common defense in a DWI case is that the officer made an unjustified stop. Under the law, an officer cannot just pull a car over based on a hunch. Instead, an officer needs reasonable suspicion. This is a low barrier, but it does require an an officer to have some articulable basis that criminal activity is occurring. This can include traffic violations, responding to a 911 call describing dangerous driving, or knowledge that the driver is intoxicated. If an officer pulls a vehicle over without reasonable suspicion, the evidence obtained after the stop, such as the evidence of intoxication, is thrown out. This usually results in a dismissal of DWI charges.
If an officer pull someone over for a traffic violation, the officer cannot require field sobriety tests or conduct DWI investigation without a basis that the driver consumed alcohol and may be intoxicated. As with stopping a vehicle generally, this is a low bar. But, if an officer conducts DWI tests without a valid basis first, the DWI evidence will likely be thrown out.
Many DWIs are based on a test showing an elevated blood alcohol concentration. In Minnesota, there are procedural requirements for conducting a breath test, blood test, or urine test. If an officer fails to follow those procedural requirements, the test results can be thrown out, usually resulting in dismissal or an extremely difficult case to prove. In addition, flaws with the testing process or equipment can also invalidate the results. As such, it is important to make sure that each test is thoroughly reviewed to determine if there are procedural or reliability issues.
In some circumstances, the prosecutor may not be able to prove necessary facts beyond a reasonable doubt. At trial, this should result in an acquittal. While not common, sometimes the facts will not be sufficient to show that the accused was driving or in physical control of the vehicle, consumed alcohol before or while driving, or that they were the driver during prior dangerous driving.
These defenses and others may help get a DWI charge dismissed. They can also help secure a better resolution in negotiation if the prosecutor has a weak case. If you are charged with a DWI and want to learn more about your options, contact experienced Minnesota DWI lawyer Eric Rice for a free consultation. Eric can be reached at (651) 998-9660.