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Police Procedures Overview for DWI Arrests in Minnesota

Many motorists facing an arrest for DWI mistakenly presume taking their case to trial will result in an unfavorable outcome. However, much of the evidence can often be challenged using a range of potential defense strategies.  In this blog, our team focuses on DWI defenses stemming from the failure of an officer to comply with proper police procedures during a traffic stop.

Break Down of Proper Police Procedures

Strict laws provide law enforcement with the proper police procedures to follow during every traffic stop. The procedural requirements that apply to a DWI case include the following:

  1. The officer must have “reasonable suspicion” based on articulable facts that a crime is being committed before executing a stop.
  2. The officer is required to meet the standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) when administering field sobriety tests (FSTs).  These procedures include, but are not limited to, topics such as the proper location for the tests, proper mandatory demonstration of the FSTs, and application of the objective standard for scoring performance.
  3. If the officer administers a breath test to detect blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the officer must comply with a 15-minute observation period.  The officer must closely scrutinize the DWI suspect to ensure that no alcohol is ingested or expelled into the mouth through regurgitation, belching, or vomiting.
  4. The officer cannot undertake a valid arrest unless the evidence establishes “probable cause” that a motorist is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  If the driver has not submitted to chemical testing or FSTs, the officer might have no evidence other than personal observations of suspect’s behavior and appearance before and during the stop.  This sole evidence might be insufficient to establish probable cause of driving while intoxicated.
  5. If executing an arrest, the officer must provide the suspect with a Miranda warning that advises of the right to have counsel present during questioning and the right against self-incrimination.  When the officer fails to provide this advisement, or you do not waive your rights, incriminating statements that indicate you were drinking might not be admissible during trial.

If police officers violate these types of procedures when executing a DWI arrest, it might provide a basis to suppress evidence.  In such situations, our Minneapolis DWI defense attorneys could request a hearing to ask that the judge exclude the evidence from being used by the prosecution.

If the judge grants the motion, this often leads to dismissal of the charges because the prosecutor lacks the necessary evidence to prove the driving under the influence charge.

Seek Legal Counsel Today for More Information

If you are facing DWI charges in Minnesota, you should immediately assert your right to counsel and to remain silent.

Minneapolis DWI defense attorney Gerald Miller and his expert team understand the impact a DWI conviction can have on the lives of their clients and work diligently to protect clients from these harsh consequences.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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