A criminal defendant’s right to legal counsel is a central tenet in American legal tradition. Minnesota’s own rules of criminal procedure explicitly provide this right to anyone facing charges of a gross misdemeanor, a misdemeanor punishable by jail time, or a felony. However, it is not always clear exactly when this right should be exerted during the course of an investigation or prosecution.
In cases involving suspected driving while impaired or intoxicated (DWI), it can be vital for motorists to understand when and under what circumstances they are entitled to consult with a lawyer and how their decision may impact their prospects of success. If you are accused of an impaired driving offense, learning more about rights to counsel in Bloomington DWI cases could provide clarification on whether law enforcement representatives acted within their proper scope of authority while gathering evidence in your case.
Minnesota is an implied consent jurisdiction when it comes to certain types of blood alcohol testing for those suspected of impaired driving. As provided by Minnesota Statute §169A.51, anyone who operates or is otherwise in physical control of a vehicle within the boundaries of the state must submit to a breath test when requested by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause. The suspect’s refusal could lead to the possibility of additional penalties.
There is no search warrant requirement for a breathalyzer test, and suspects receive a reasonable opportunity to consult with an attorney before test administration.
In situations where law enforcement wishes to pursue a blood or urine test to confirm an unlawful level of impairment, there are different considerations at play.
In Minnesota, these more invasive types of tests require a search warrant, and the absence of such authorization can result in the suppression of any evidence stemming from them. However, in the case of blood and urine testing, suspects do not receive the option to speak to a lawyer before deciding whether to submit.
Since there is no established right to legal counsel in advance of blood or urine testing performed pursuant to a search warrant, it may be critical for a consultation take place as soon as possible following the initiation of DWI charges. The faster an attorney is secured, the more rapidly the process of evidence collection can be scrutinized, and the examination of test results and the analysis of the initial traffic stop’s constitutionality can begin. A local DWI lawyer could seek a dismissal of pending charges or, at the very least, attempt to mitigate the sanctions ultimately imposed.
A DWI conviction can incur severe penalties. From substantial incarceration, hefty fines, job loss, and familial strain, the impact of these charges can last for years, particularly for those with prior offenses. As such, there is no room for delay when it comes to engaging legal counsel who understands how to expose weaknesses in the state’s case and aggressively safeguard the defendant’s rights.
DWI cases can be complex and difficult to defend without a legal advocate at your side. While the precise point at which the right to counsel in Bloomington DWI cases attach will vary depending on the specific circumstances, do not delay in asking a seasoned attorney for advice if you have been accused of this crime. Call today to schedule a consultation.