The key to winning your Minnesota DWI case is to suppress the chemical test for intoxication. When the prosecutor is no longer able to use the result of  a physical test to determine the alcohol concentration in your body, the case becomes much easier to defend.

How do you suppress the chemical test  for intoxication in a Minnesota DWI case? The DWI attorney files a motion with the court seeking an order to suppress the test result on the grounds that the chemical test for intoxication  was obtained through an unlawful warrantless search of the defendant. Under the Fourth Amendment, all warrantless searches conducted by the police are presumed to be unreasonable. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that a "compelled intrusion into the body for blood to be analyzed for alcohol content" should be considered a search under the Fourth Amendment. The same principal applies to  a breathalyzer or urine test, as both are  considered a compelled intrusions into the body. A breathalyzer test  requires the suspect to produce deep lung air for chemical analysis.  A urine test requires a DWI suspect to produce a urine sample for chemical analysis.

There are only two ways to justify a warrantless search for the blood alcohol concentration in your body. The defendant must either consent to the warrantless search or there must be exigent circumstances justifying the search. If there was neither consent  nor exigent circumstances justifying the warrantless search, police are required to obtain a search warrant prior to conducting a chemical test for intoxication.

Under the consent exception to the search warrant requirement, the prosecution is required to prove that the consent to search by the suspect was granted voluntarily  and without coercion. When a defendant merely submits to a show or claim of authority by police, the consent to search   is not deemed  voluntary. The  Minnesota Implied Consent Advisory is read to a suspect by a police officer in every DWI case prior to requesting a chemical test to determine intoxication. The Advisory states that consent to chemical testing is required by virtue of being granted the privilege of driving a motor vehicle in the State of Minnesota.  The Implied Consent Advisory also requires the officer to inform the suspect that the refusal to take a test is a crime, and secondly, that any unreasonable delays in deciding to take the test or refusing to decide would be considered a refusal to test. Since a DWI suspect  is not free to withdraw consent to test under the language of the Minnesota Implied Consent Advisory, any consent given by the defendant is the product of coercion and not voluntary.

The exigent circumstance exception to the search warrant requirement is based on the  fact that alcohol is metabolized by the human body and dissipates with the passage of time leading to the loss of potential evidence for use by the prosecution. The potential loss of evidence may create an exigent circumstance justifying a warrantless blood, breath or urine test. In the case of Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U.S. —; 133 S.Ct. 1552, 185 L.Ed.2d 696 (2013), the United States Supreme Court held that the dissipation of alcohol from the body is a factor to consider when determining if a warrantless search is justified, but  not the only factor. There must be other exigent circumstances existing in a DWI case to excuse the police from first obtaining a search warrant from a judge. If the police can reasonably obtain a search warrant "without undermining the efficacy of the search," they are required to do so under the Fourth Amendment before requesting a chemical test for intoxication.

If you submitted to a test for intoxication and the police failed to first obtain a search warrant, you may be able to suppress the test result obtained in your case. If you or someone you know in Minnesota or Wisconsin needs the assistance of an experienced DWI Attorney, call criminal defense attorney Robert J. Shane any time, day or night, at (612) 339-1024, or complete the contact form provided on this site to schedule your free consultation.