Supreme Court Decision Creates Opportunities for DWI Defendants

(, August 06, 2013 ) Minneapolis, MN -- There may be an opportunity for defendants in DWI cases to challenge their charges and license suspensions. An April 2013 Supreme Court decision has created an opening.

In Missouri vs. McNeely, the Supreme Court ruled that police officers must obtain a search warrant to take a blood sample, “absent reasonable consent or exigent circumstances.” Thus, those facing DWI charges after a warrantless drug test may have a valid defense if their bodily fluids were drawn during the course of a DWI investigation.

“Attorneys throughout Minnesota have been arguing in the past months that any tests taken in a DWI case are unconstitutional,” says Jon P. Erikson, Criminal Defense attorney at Barna, Guzy, and Steffen. “This also applies to the civil side of these cases concerning the loss of driver’s licenses, the impounding of plates, and the like. I have in my office copies of decisions from judges in six different counties in both the criminal cases and civil driver’s license cases suppressing evidence from breath, urine, and blood tests relying on the decision in Missouri vs. McNeely.”

He adds that defendants should, of course, discuss the specifics of their case with their criminal defense lawyer.

Previous readings of the law had labeled human metabolism as an “exigent circumstance.” However, Missouri vs. McNeely rejected that interpretation, even though blood alcohol levels could drop in the time that it takes an officer to secure a warrant. Warrantless blood, urine, and breath tests have also relied on “implied consent” laws—the idea that by driving a vehicle a person implies that he or she is consenting to a test if an officer suspects a DWI.

The Supreme Court decision, therefore, may well have a large impact above and beyond individual drunk driving cases.

About Barna, Guzy & Steffen:

For more information contact Jon P. Erickson at Barna, Guzy, and Steffen, Ltd. by calling 763-780-8500 or by e-mailing the firm at

Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.
Jon Erickson
(763) - 780 - 8500

Source: EmailWire.Com
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