Questions Surround Vague DWI Laws in Minnesota

The state of Minnesota is known for its strict laws regulating driving while intoxicated. In some cases, the law is clear, however three recent appellate court decisions have led to some uncertainty. Depending on the type of DWI charge, and the number of times that a defendant has faced a charge, consequences range from fines to lengthy jail times. It’s important for those facing such a charge to consult with a St. Paul DWI lawyer to review their rights and responsibilities.

What Sets Minnesota Apart

Minnesota is one of the few states in the country that considers refusal to take a blood alcohol test a crime. This is the case, even if the police do not have a warrant. Minnesota’s implied consent law says that if you are arrested by an official with probable cause, then you consent to taking a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol content. This consent is also implied if you are involved in an accident involving property damage, death or significant injury. Officers are required to tell suspects that Minnesota law requires a blood alcohol test and that refusal is considered a crime.

The constitutionality of this law is now being questioned, both locally and nationally. This standing rule is under fire because the courts recently ruled that a warrant is needed if the test involves blood or urine. Though breath tests are the most common, this ruling still changes the landscape of Minnesota DWI laws.

Minnesota safety officials say that over 2,502 drivers were arrested on DWI charges over the recent holiday season, which spanned from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Law enforcement takes a tough stance on DWI offenders, which is why they should work with a St. Paul DWI lawyer who understands the laws and the implications of expected changes.

What’s Next for Minnesota DWI Laws?

Minnesota has now been placed on the national stage, because the United States Supreme Court will be reviewing its test refusal law to determine if it is constitutional. For now, blood and urine tests have been set apart, and the fate of warrants for breath tests remains up in the air. This means that some cases have been placed on hold, until a final decision has been made. For now, refusal to take a breath test is still against the law, but in the coming months, this could certainly change.

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.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.