Supreme Court Decision Could Change Many DWI Cases

In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court outlined new testing procedures for drunk drivers that allow law enforcement to perform breath tests without a warrant. A DWI attorney St. Paul can explain the impact of this new ruling to individuals charged with a DWI in Minnesota.

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

In June 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court instigated a new ruling that impacts DWI cases. Previous laws required law enforcement to get a warrant to perform breath tests and blood tests on individuals suspected of drunk driving. Privacy laws allowed those individuals the right to refuse a breath test and blood test without a warrant. Many people who did refuse these tests were charged with DWI crimes and sentenced to jail time and steep fines.

The new Supreme Court ruling allows law enforcement to perform breath tests without a warrant, but not blood tests, because they are considered more invasive procedures that are protected by the Fourth Amendment. To reach the new ruling, the Supreme Court looked at three lower court rulings which involved state laws that criminalized the refusal of blood and breath tests. In North Dakota, a man received a 30-day sentence and fines for refusing a warrant-less blood test. Another man lost his drivers license when law enforcement told him that refusing a warrant-less blood test was a crime. In Minnesota, a man hired a DWI attorney St. Paul to challenge his prosecution after refusing a warrant-less breath test.

DWI Offenses in Minnesota

A Minnesota DWI charge is a criminal offense that carries serious consequences. It can result in the the revocation of a driver’s license, thousands of dollars in fines, and extended jail time. Criminal penalties imposed for a DWI in Minnesota are based on the number of prior aggravating factors a driver has at the time of the offense, however a first offense DWI, a gross misdemeanor charge, can be filed if a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .20 or above. If charged with a first-degree felony DWI, a person can be sentenced to a minimum jail term of 180 days, a maximum jail term of five to seven years, as well as fines of up to $14,000. In addition to criminal penalties for a DWI, Minnesota also imposes civil sanctions that include revocation of a driver’s license, impoundment of a license plate, and forfeiture of a vehicle.

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

Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.
If a county medical examiner’s work is called into question in one case, it can affect all those they were a part of. An independent review is underway of murder cases involving the testimony of the long-time medical examiner in Ramsey County, Minnesota. The review comes in response to a wrongful murder conviction that was recently vacated on the basis that the medical examiner gave flawed medical testimony.
You might ask how plea bargains work if you are considering settling your criminal case by skipping the trial phase. A plea bargain in Minneapolis, MN, happens when a criminal defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest instead of having the prosecution prove his or her guilt at trial. The prosecution agrees to reduce the charges, recommend less harsh penalties, or drop the charges altogether in exchange for a guilty plea.