Published On: March 27th, 2017
The DWI Guys scored another victory for a client who thought there was no chance of winning. In this case, we challenged the initial traffic stop. Our client drove into the parking lot of a closed business at 2:30am, temporarily stopped his vehicle and turned off his headlights. He didn’t realize that an officer was already sitting in the parking lot with his squad lights out, watching traffic at a nearby intersection. The officer found it suspicious that a vehicle entered a parking lot of a closed business and turned out its headlights, so he turned on his lights and pulled behind our client. Once our client saw the officer, he started to drive off but the officer turned on his emergency lights and turned on the siren briefly to initiate a traffic stop.
We argued that the officer had no basis to initiate this traffic stop, but opposing counsel disagreed. They argued that the officer had a lawful basis to stop the vehicle because a local city ordinance made it a misdemeanor for anyone to be present in the parking lot of a closed business. Any violation of the law can justify a traffic stop. However, we argued that the temporary entry into the parking lot was not enough to violate the ordinance. The judge agreed with our argument and rescinded the license revocation from our client’s driving record. This is just another example of why it makes sense to retain an attorney who won’t give up on your case even if you feel like there’s nothing to challenge.
Published On: January 23rd, 2017
Today a Hennepin County Judge threw out a DWI case because our client’s constitutional rights had been violated. Our client was charged with DWI after an officer in a dark unmarked SUV pulled up next to our client at an intersection with controlled traffic signals. The officer did not believe our client’s vehicle was up far enough to trigger the sensor of the traffic control light so he pulled up along side our client’s vehicle and asked her to roll down the window. The officer testified that our client had not violated any traffic laws. He told the judge that our client was “slow” to roll down her passenger window despite the fact it was the middle of the night and he was in a dark unmarked SUV. The officer told our client to move up and trigger the traffic control light. Our client said “okay.” The officer testified that our client slurred this two syllable word despite the fact the he was seated in his dark unmarked SUV and our client was in the driver’s seat of the car she was driving- in between both of them was a passenger in our client’s car. The officer then ordered our client to pull over to the side of the road and was ultimately arrested for DWI. The judge did not buy the officer’s basis for the stop and threw the case out. Just another day at the office for the DWI GUYS. Congratulations to our client!
Published On: October 17th, 2015
After years of challenges from defense attorneys in Minnesota, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has finally acknowledged that a search warrant was needed for a DWI blood test request, and the driver’s refusal to submit to that test in the absence of a warrant cannot be a criminal offense. This decision is extremely important, but is limited in its scope. First of all, the decision applies ONLY to blood tests directly. The Minnesota Supreme Court held last year that a warrant was not needed for DWI breath test requests, which means the refusal to take a breath test can still be a crime. (That decision is awaiting possible review by the U.S. Supreme Court.) As for urine tests, that is an unanswered question at this point.
More than ever, it is critical that anyone who has been arrested for DWI seek legal advice prior to making the decision about taking the test for the officer. The DWI Guys are available 24 hours, 7 days a week for free testing advice at 1-800-DWI-GUYS. The law is drastically different depending on the type of test being asked for by the officer. We suspect that officers will be instructed to offer breath tests only whenever possible, which they already do in the vast majority of cases.
This new decision also calls into question whether the current Implied Consent Advisory form violates due process by advising all drivers that “refusal to take a test is a crime.” This Advisory must be read to a DWI offender before the officer requests an official alcohol concentration test at the police station/jail. An argument can now be made that the Advisory gives bad advice to individuals who are eventually asked to take a blood test without the officer obtaining a search warrant first. Again, this applies to a small percentage of DWI offenses because most officers request breath tests, but it is a step in the right direction when it comes to preserving individual rights.