On April 17, 2013, the United States Supreme Court published Missouri v. McNeely–a decision that impacts potentially every Minnesota DWI case. Missouri v. McNeely stands for the proposition that police officers violate a person’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches when they administer a blood test for the purpose of measuring a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) without a warrant.
In Missouri v. McNeely, a police officer stopped Tyler McNeely for speeding and crossing the center line of a divided highway. After the officer pulled over Mr. McNeely’s car, he smelled alcohol on Mr. McNeely’s breath. After failing a slew of field sobriety tests and declining to take a portable breath test (PBT), the officer arrested Mr. McNeely for DWI and transported him to a nearby hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, the officer read Mr. McNeely a standard Implied Consent Advisory and asked him whether he’d submit to a blood test. Mr. McNeely said no. Regardless of Mr. McNeely’s refusal, and without a warrant, the officer directed a hospital staff technician to take a sample of Mr. McNeely’s blood. Mr. McNeely’s BAC measured 0.154–nearly twice the legal limit.
Mr. McNeely hired a criminal defense lawyer, who ultimately argued that the officer “searched” Mr. McNeely’s blood in violation of his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. More specifically, Mr. McNeely’s lawyer asserted that the police officer needed to secure a warrant from a judge before he directed the hospital lab technician to test Mr. McNeely’s blood. The United States Supreme Court agreed and overturned Mr. McNeely’s DWI conviction because the officer needed to obtain a warrant before testing Mr. McNeely’s blood.
The attorneys at Giancola-Durkin are working tirelessly to assert this “McNeely defense” for their Minnesota DWI client. In other words, the criminal lawyers at Giancola-Durkin argue that officers who test a driver’s blood, breath, or urine without a warrant do so in violation of the Fourth Amendment. These arguments are successful.
In Minnesota v. Rappe, a judge in Rice County suppressed the results of a breath test because the officer did not secure a warrant before testing the driver’s breath. In Koch v. Commissioner of Public Safety and Aubart v. Commissioner of Public Safety, two judges in Stearns County reinstated the driving privileges of two defendants because the officers obtained urine tests without first securing a warrant.
Are you charged with a DWI in Minnesota? Did the officer force you to take a blood, breath, or urine test without a warrant? Let the criminal lawyers at Giancola-Durkin assert your McNeely defense!