DWIs are often treated differently from other types of crimes. Due to the complexities involved with the procedure and testing, DWIs have unique issues and defenses from other crimes. Here are a few issues that could help defend against a Minnesota drunk driving charge:
Improper Search and Seizure
You have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In practice, this means that the police cannot stop you for an arbitrary or improper reason. Typically, police will need some indication that criminal activity is occurring. With most DUIs, this often starts with a traffic violation, such as speeding or failing to signal a turn. However, if a violation does not occur before the police stop you, it may be possible to suppress evidence and get the charge dismissed.
Implied Consent Issues
In order to take an alcohol test, a police officer must comply with Minnesota implied consent procedures. These include notifying you that refusal is a crime, giving you an opportunity to contact an attorney, and possibly giving you the opportunity for an alternate type of test. If a police officer does not follow these procedures, a test could be thrown out.
Lack of Consent or Warrant
Also triggered during the implied consent process, recent DWI litigation in Minnesota has focused on whether consent or refusal of a test is constitutional given the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that alcohol tests typically require a warrant. Minnesota courts are still defining the boundaries of defendants’ rights, but evidence could be suppressed due to coercion or a violation of constitutional rights.
Many DWIs turn on the alcohol content measured by a blood, breath, or urine test. However, criminal law standards for evidence are very high; a prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. So, if the circumstances or type of test indicate unreliable results, there may be doubt that you were over the legal limit. These challenges are fact-specific, but provide the opportunity of defending against a drunk driving charge.
To learn more about defenses if you are charged with a Minnesota drunk driving charge, contact St. Paul DWI Attorney Eric Rice for a free consultation at 651-998-9660.