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How To Get a DWI Dismissed in Minnesota in 2024

If you have been arrested under suspicion of DWI in Minnesota, you could be facing steep legal jeopardy. A conviction could result in jail time, fines, and the loss of your driving privileges, among other consequences. The good news is that it is possible to prevail in these cases. Not only is victory at trial a possibility, but seeing your case dismissed entirely could also be an option.

The Right to Dismiss a DWI Case in Minnesota

There are two ways you could see your case dismissed if you have been charged with a DWI in Minnesota. First, the prosecutor could opt to dismiss your case before it ever goes to trial. Second, the court could grant your motion to dismiss the case based on your defense strategy.

The right to dismiss a DWI is limited to the prosecutor and the judge. The prosecutor has broad discretion on whether to move forward with a DWI charge or dismiss the case entirely. It is worth noting that the dismissal of a criminal charge by the prosecutor does not guarantee the case is over forever. Many times, the state will dismiss a charge only to pursue the case again later. Thankfully, their ability to do this is limited by your right to a speedy trial.

The court has the power to dismiss a DWI case. Typically, a judge will only consider dismissing a charge on the basis of a request by one or both parties. The court does not have to take any specific course of action, however, as the judge will ultimately determine if a dismissal is necessary. It is unusual for a judge to dismiss a DWI on their own motion, meaning an aggressive defense strategy is your best chance for resolving a DWI in this way.

Legal Challenges That Could Lead to DWI Dismissal

As well-practiced Minnesota DWI lawyers, we want to inform you that you have rights enshrined in the United States Constitution. These rights persist even when you have been accused of a crime. In fact, many of these rights directly apply to the accused. When the police or prosecutors violate those rights, their transgressions could entitle you to the dismissal of criminal charges against you.

In general, there are two ways to approach a dismissal of your DWI charges and they each have to do with your constitutional rights. The first is to challenge the legality of the traffic stop. The second involves challenging the reliability of the chemical test.

Challenging the Stop in Minnesota

Most DWI arrests result from routine traffic stops. That said, there is nothing routine about police unlawfully stopping motorists without reasonable suspicion. The police are limited in their ability to stop your vehicle or detain you. If they are unable to articulate a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a traffic violation or broken a law, they may not stop your vehicle.

Unfortunately, unlawful traffic stops happen every day. This is true despite the fact that the police have broad leeway in pulling over motorists for entirely pretextual reasons. If you are only a few miles over the speed limit, the police can initiate a traffic stop. Should they find evidence of intoxication, they have the right to expand their investigation into a possible DWI.

Arbitrary Stops By Police Are Illegal in Minnesota

Despite this leeway, police routinely initiate traffic stops without reasonable suspicion to do so. Arbitrary stops are illegal, and your Minnesota DWI attorney could file a motion to suppress any evidence the police recover during or after the stop. This evidence could include field sobriety test results, the presence of an open container, or even an admission that you were drinking prior to the stop.

These motions have the potential to gut the state’s entire case against you. Without any evidence from the scene, no statements form you indicating guilt, and no BAC result above the legal limit, the state is likely to drop the charges against you or offer a plea to a lesser offense.

Challenging the Results of a DWI Test in Minnesota

Challenging the results of the chemical test is another effective strategy for forcing a dismissal in your DWI case. Your Due Process rights under the United States Constitution require the state to ensure that all chemical tests were administered properly and include accurate results. When the police or crime lab makes a mistake, it could result in false evidence of intoxication. Your Minnesota DWI attorney could seek to have the result of those tests thrown out.

Issues with BAC Tests in Minnesota

Many problems with BAC test results stem from the officer taking the sample. Breathalyzer machines must be carefully calibrated, and blood samples must go through protocols to ensure they are not corrupted on their way to a crime lab. The failure to follow these protocols could render the sample useless.

Mistakes in Handling of a DWI Test

In some cases, the labs can also make mistakes. Examples include contaminating or mixing up blood samples. Some labs fail to follow proper protocol and lose samples entirely. In that case, a blood test that could have potentially exculpated you is lost forever. Your Minnesota DWI lawyer could use any of these issues with the chemical test to push for a dismissal of the DWI charges against you.

Alternatives to DWI Dismissal in Minnesota

If you have been arrested under suspicion of DWI, a dismissal is the best possible outcome in your case. Unlike going to trial, resolving your case with a dismissal by the prosecutor is risk-free. Of course, a dismissal might not be an option in every case. Despite the best efforts of your legal counsel, some prosecutors may refuse to dismiss a case under any circumstances.

Reduction of Charges in Minnesota

That does not mean their negotiating efforts will be entirely in vain. For starters, it could be possible for your attorney to obtain a reduction in charges. In some instances the state will charge a person using a prior conviction that should not apply under the law. This could include a conviction that occurs outside of the state’s 10-year lookback period. Your attorney could argue for a reduction in charges.

DWI Plea Bargain in Minnesota

For some people, the evidence against them is strong. While an aggressive defense strategy could put that person in the best position to win their case, many people ultimately find that a plea bargain is in their best interest. A negotiated plea could limit the consequences that come with a conviction. In many cases, the state will agree to waive any jail time in exchange for a guilty plea. Negotiating a fair resolution to a case is the best option for many people facing DWI charges.

Effective DWI Trial Strategies in Minnesota

Even if the court refuses to dismiss your case, you are not without options when it comes to fighting for acquittal at trial. If you avoid a conviction at trial the end result is no better or worse than seeing your case dismissed earlier in the process.

Actions of the Arresting Officer(s) in Minnesota

Focusing on the actions of the arresting officer is a common tactic in DWI defense. Every mistake the officer made at the time of the arrest could be seen as evidence of a botched investigation or a wrongful arrest. Examples could include illegal searches, inconsistent statements between officers, or mistakes in administering field sobriety tests.

Failures of the Prosecution in Minnesota DWI Cases

Cases can at times focus on the failures of the prosecution. A skilled Minnesota DWI defense attorney could highlight the lack of evidence of intoxication or claim that their client’s right to a speedy trial was violated. Other issues like the failure to disclose witnesses could result in a favorable outcome for your trial.

Independent Witnesses to Your DWI

Finally, independent witnesses can play an important role at trial. Some DWI trials come down to the word of the officer versus the word of the accused. From issues regarding the legality of the stop to a disagreement over whether the defendant was ever driving, independent witness testimony could play a major role in earning an acquittal in your DWI case.

The Importance of an DWI Defense Lawyer in Minnesota

Favorable outcomes like dismissals, reductions in charges, or acquittals at trial could be possible in your DWI case. That does not mean these outcomes are easy to come by. Most prosecutors aggressively pursue DWI cases, and you can expect the prosecutor assigned to you case will push hard for a conviction.

Counteracting the Resources of the Minnesota Prosecution

These prosecutors are not on their own. Instead, they have the resources of an entire state they can leverage against you. This includes relying on law enforcement as their investigators. Prosecutors also have a host of experts available to them including the workers at the state’s crime lab.

Given what you can expect to face during your DWI case, it is vital you do not take on this challenge alone. An attorney from our firm can help you even the playing field against the state and protect your rights during the course of a case. An experienced attorney can assist you in a number of ways. Our team will begin investigating the facts of your case immediately in an effort to determine the strongest possible defense strategy.

Your Legal Team Is Your Advocate in Minnesota

Your legal team serves as your advocate throughout the process. This means they can appear on your behalf on most court dates and deal directly with the prosecutor so that you don’t have to. Our team can handle the negotiations in your case and fight for a potential dismissal of all of your charges. If a dismissal is not an option, we can craft a defense strategy that will give you the best chance of an acquittal at trial.

Meet with a Minnesota DWI Defense Attorney Right Away

The sooner you get started with building your defense, the sooner you will have a good idea of your chances of obtaining a dismissal. Even if the court or prosecutor refuses to dismiss your case, a strong defense could convince a jury of your innocence.

The experienced Minnesota DWI defense lawyers at Gerald Miller have a long track record of fighting back against DWI charges. To get started with your defense, schedule a free consultation as soon as possible on (612) 405-5522.

About the author

Kyle Dreger

Kyle Dreger is a skilled DUI/DWI and Criminal Defense lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. Kyle has received his law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He is also a professionally trained basketball player.

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