Defense presents arguments in Wright vehicular homicide case

The second half of a pre-trial hearing has begun for the case involving a 27-year-old woman accused of killing two Carlton county highway department employees while driving under the influence of a controlled substance. The woman is being charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.

The crash occurred at around 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 21, 2012. According to witnesses, the woman’s 1996 Oldsmobile weaved over the centerline and entered the path of the oncoming highway department truck, which held two passengers, ages 25 and 29. The drivers of the truck swerved to the right to avoid a collision, but the guardrail prevented them from being able to fully dodge the Oldsmobile.

The woman struck the truck on the rear driver’s side, forcing the truck into oncoming traffic. The truck then hit a gooseneck trailer, causing the two highway department employees to be ejected from the vehicle. The men were not wearing seatbelts. Officers responding to the scene discovered a syringe in the woman’s car, which still contained a small amount of liquid thought to be methadone. Officers were able to gather three witnesses.

The case may seem fairly open and shut; however, a defense attorney for the woman is calling some of the presented evidence into question. Statements that the woman made before she was read her Miranda rights are being contested, as well as the blood sample that was taken from the woman. The defense is referencing a U.S. Supreme Court case in which it was determined that drawing blood from a DUI suspect against their will requires a warrant, which the police in this case did not have. Also, police removed certain items from the woman’s vehicle with no warrant.

While it’s uncertain if the case will go to trial, it seems that the defense might be able to at least reduce the woman’s sentence if she is found guilty. While a charge such as vehicular homicide is very serious, it must be remembered that this woman still has rights and should not have had to endure an unlawful search.

Source: pinejournal.com, “Attorneys battle it out in Brigan case” Jana Peterson, Nov. 08, 2013

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
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